Top Tier: J.A. Happ (-340)– Happ finds himself in the middle of the upper tier on Thursday night priced at $10,000 on DraftKings. He’s sandwiched between Justin Verlander at $12,000 against the Angels and Rick Porcello at $9,800 against the White Sox. Verlander seems a bit too much for me in cash games despite him clearly being the best pitcher on this slate, and I think that Happ is better than Porcello for just $200 more. Porcello is a guy I could see being popular for sure against this strikeout-prone White Sox team, he allows just 27.4% hard-hits to righties with 52.1% ground balls but it comes with just 21.1% strikeouts. He obviously will be in pretty much the most advantageous strikeout matchup of the season, but with just 8.4% swinging-strikes on the season I’m not buying the theoretical upside. Much will be made of Happ seeing what should be a pretty much all right-handed lineup tonight, casual fans may see the left-handed Happ matched up with all those righties and be scared off…but, fear not! Happ has actually been better against right-handed batters this season especially in terms of strikeouts. This Tigers offense is pretty much equally as bad as the White Sox (outside of Nick Castellanos) and Happ’s 27.4% strikeout rate against righties presents much more upside for only $200 more in salary.
Mid Tier: German Marquez (-151)– Marquez figures to be the highest owned pitcher overall in cash games tonight due to his mid tier price and away matchup with the lowly San Diego Padres. Marquez has been very good for Rockies this season posting a 3.71 SIERA, 25.1% strikeout rate and 10.9% swinging-strike rate. Marquez will benefit from the Padres 82 wRC+ and 25.8% strikeout rate, but also from the positive pitching conditions inside of Petco Park. He’s been locked in as of late as well, striking out nine+ batters in three of his last five starts with the other two being seven and five K performances. It’s not a huge slate tonight, just eight games, but I don’t anticipate trying to get too cute by fading Marquez in cash games.
Low Tier: Joe Musgrove (-106)– Musgrove is far and away my favorite cheap option tonight on DraftKings, there are limited punt options and I have been able to take advantage of attacking the Cardinals with right-handed pitchers a few times this season. The Cardinals will trot out six or so right-handed bats tonight, with the lefties being particularly unimposing outside of Matt Carpenter. If he cracks the lineup, Matt Adams has pop sure but he also strikes out over 20% of the time to both sides of the plate. Musgrove is better than most people think, especially against same-handed batters as he allows just a .263 wOBA whilestrikign them out 22.2% of the time and issuing free passes at just 4.4%. He actually has some solid swing-and-miss ability, so there is reason to believe the 22.2% strikeouts can rise even though the Cardinals are pretty good in terms of limiting strikeouts. There’s a lot to be desired in the cheap tier tonight, so I will be focusing on Musgrove and I think he should be low-owned enough to be a huge play if he works out. Note that Matt Carpenter did exit last night’s game early due to sickness, so if there is any chance he misses tonight’s contest that would boost Musgrove’s value even more.
Top Tier: Giancarlo Stanton- Yes, I know the Yankees have been horrible this week, but that is also the beauty of DAILY fantasy sports. Francisco Liriano is a horrible left-handed pitcher with major control issues and pretty much zero strikeout ability. Stanton owns video-game numbers against southpaws yet again this season, and I dissected them on Monday. If I’m spending up tonight, it’s back to the Stanton tilt well I go.
Mid Tier: Matt Chapman- Aside from being probably the only third baseman in the NL better defensively and Nolan Arenado, Chapman is having quite the year at the plate for the A’s as well. He’s shown more power against righties than lefties, but that’s not to say he has been bad against southpaws. Wade LeBlanc lives and dies with BABIP, which could spell disaster against this hard-hitting A’s lineup. Chapman has been locked in with over 40% hard-hits and fly-balls over the last two weeks and is a great 3B play on DraftKings in all formats.
Low Tier: Mitch Moreland (FanDuel)- I normally tailor my articles to DraftKings as you well know, but this FanDueLOL pricing of Mitch Moreland calls to be included in this write up. Moreland, for some reason, is just $3,000 today against Lucas Giolito and is pretty much a must play for me. Gio has pitched to a 6.17 xFIP against lefties this season with 12.3% walks. I just don’t get this pricing.
Stack of the Day
Oakland Athletics- As I said above with Chapman, LeBlanc should be in for a long night given how many guys in this A’s lineup can hit the ball hard against lefties. Khris Davis, Matt Chapman, Jed Lowrie, Chad Pinder and Mark Canha stick out as the top overall plays but don’t be afraid to include lefty Matt Olson in GPPs.
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)