Clayton Kershaw (-210): I’m actually significantly more interested in Jacob deGrom and Luis Severino in tournaments than Kershaw, but given the weather in New York and the price discount Kersh provides I’m forced to look here in cash games. The price is finally starting to come down, as Kershaw finds himself at “just” $10,000 on DraftKings. I hate this play because as I touched on last week, I don’t think the strikeouts are ever going to return to form for him and he looked pretty rough overall in his start against the Athletics (from a strikeout perspective). That being said, everyone is going to play him at this price and the matchup with the Giants is more reasonable especially with the price discount. This is 100% a FLOOR play and not a ceiling play, meaning I most likely will lock in Kershaw for cash games and then completely fade for high-upside options in tournaments.
Mike Clevinger (-180): Sunshine and his opponent, the Reds, have been trending in completely opposite directions over the last month. Over his last 30 days, Clevinger has pitched to a 3.93 SIERA and a 24% strikeout rate while the Reds rank 27th in wRC+. If you look at the numbers as a whole, Clevinger’s are pretty much the same or better in most categories as Clayton Kershaw…his name is just Mike Clevinger. He doesn’t have the #Brand equity that the name Kershaw does. Regardless, this Reds team is ice-cold and pretty much no hitter concerns me right now expect for maybe Joey Votto. You can go up to deGrom/Sevy from Kershaw or you can go down to Clevinger. I like the matchup, but also this could be a great leverage play considering that most people will be using Indians bats, they aren’t going to be using their pitcher as well.
Sean Reid-Foley (-125): Reid-Foley figures to be the chalk tonight at his price in a matchup with the lowly Kansas City Royals. Reid-Foley has been incredible in the minors this season posting a 3.04 xFIP at Triple A with 27.4% strikeouts. He showed promising strikeout ability up until Double A last season, but corrected that issue this year and is having his best season in the minors to date. The plus with him isn’t even his ability, it’s the price in a matchup with one of the worst offenses in the MLB. Over the last 14 days the Royals own the fourth-lowest wRC+ though they have been very disciplined with a 20.8% strikeout rate as a team. I’m not expecting a huge score in his debut, but at his price you really don’t need that you simply need to hit value while allowing you to spend up at other positions, and I like his chances tonight.
Top Tier: Francisco Lindor/Jose Ramirez- The Indians should be one of the focal points of the slate tonight against Homer Bailey in Cincinnati, and I definitely would recommend spending up one of Lindor/Ramirez. I don’t think we need much analysis here outside of these are two of the best hitters in the MLB and you’re going to want exposure to the Indians in cash games. The case can always be made to fade high-priced batters in GPPs, but this article is tailored to cash games.
Mid Tier: Ronald Acuna- You’ll soon read why I’m targeting Merandy Gonzalez tonight, but I want to focus on Ronald Acuna as the core play from the Braves. Acuna has been locked in posting a 48% hard-hit rate and a 43% fly-ball rate over the last 14 days, and he has already homered once today! He actually has shown more power against righties this season and if I can’t fit the full Braves stack I will try to squeeze in Acuna for some exposure to the top of the lineup.
Low Tier: Niko Goodrum- The Tigers are not typically a team that we have been targeting in DFS, and their offense has been probably the worst overall since the All-Star break. That’s the beauty of daily fantasy however, and they are firmly in play tonight against Reynaldo Lopez. Lopez is allowing 35% hard-hits and 52% fly-balls to left-handed batters this season, playing into Goodrum’s strengths. Goodrum couples his 41% fly-ball rate with a .231 ISO against right-handed pitching and is in play as a cheap play with power upside.
Tournament Stack of the Day
Atlanta Braves- Since this is a double-header, I’m not entirely sure what type of lineup we will see from the Braves so I’m going to hold my final judgement until then. If it’s a normal lineup, the Braves are far and away my favorite stack tonight especially with the Diamondbacks and Indians dominating the ownership. Merandy Gonzalez is a terrible pitcher with no strikeout ability whatsoever. He posted an ugly 15% strikeout rate at Double A this season, and has looked overmatched in his time out of the bullpen. There’s a chance we see a tired bullpen being that this is the second game of the day, if the Braves get to them in the first game and either way the Marlins pen is horrid. A guy with no strikeout ability is going to be in a tough spot with this contact-heavy Braves squad, and I’m focused on Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies, Nick Markakis at the top while filling in with whatever cheaper bats crack the lineup.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)