MLB DFS Plays for 5/17/16

Another early evening game prevents a perfectly full night slate, but the remaining 28 teams will all be included in most ‘main’ slates. More importantly, ‘aces’ are everywhere on Tuesday night, with an especially noteworthy head-to-head matchup between the Mets and Nationals.

Currently, we are using xFIP and wOBA simply to compare one pitcher’s performance against another – especially against opposite-handed hitters. We aren’t using these numbers for calculation. To help with some calculations, we have assumed that each hitter and pitcher has played at least one game. Each pitcher was assigned an innings total relative to his average projection.

Check the starting lineups and weather reports prior to making any plays, as these change without notice.

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Madison Bumgarner – Madison Bumgarner is basically a mainstay in this column, as he is targeted nearly every time he takes the mound. With an abundance of ‘aces’ from which to choose on Tuesday, Bumgarner edges out Kershaw and becomes the top pitcher of the day – if price is removed from the equation. The Padres are a dream team for opposing pitchers, as they strike out at an exceptionally high rate and barely score runs. Bumgarner even gets the advantage of the Padres’ ballpark, which is still a pitcher’s park for right-handed bats, but plays well for left-handed hitters – where the southpaw will negate the benefit.

Clayton Kershaw – Clayton Kershaw’s price is always astronomically high because his production is almost always guaranteed. Despite what our eyes – and the statistics – might tell us, Kershaw is human enough to deliver good – not great – performances, but his basement is always high. Such is the case for Tuesday, as he faces an Angels offense that struggles to score runs but strikes out at the lowest team strikeout rate in the league. Kershaw will nudge their incredible pace higher, but the same dominance that he displayed against the Mets in his last start cannot be expected against the Angels.

Kyle Hendricks – Kyle Hendricks was tabbed as one of the top ‘breakout’ candidates for season-long fantasy baseball, and his impressive ERA and strikeout rates indicate that he has not disappointed. Of course, getting run support from one of the league’s best offenses always helps. To that point, Hendricks’ win potential is, once again, through-the-roof as he faces the Brewers on Tuesday. More importantly, Milwaukee remains one of the most strikeout-prone teams in the game, making Hendricks arguably the best dollar-for-dollar pitcher of the day.

Jaime Garcia – Shifting from an extreme hitter’s park to a pitcher-friendly ballpark is always noteworthy, but a game deserves extra attention when it involves Colorado. On Tuesday, the Rockies will open a series in St. Louis after sweeping the Mets over the weekend. Waiting to greet Colorado’s lineup will be Jaime Garcia with a 2.58 ERA and averaging more than one strikeout-per-inning. The opening game of the series stands to lower Colorado’s offensive output, and the Cardinals’ southpaw will negate the bats of Carlos Gonzalez and Charlie Blackmon. His strikeout totals may not be exceptionally high – although decent – but Jaime Garcia stands as the quiet ‘sleeper’ pitcher of the day.

Juan Nicasio – Even when the Braves put together a respectable offensive outing, they still yield a decent amount of fantasy points to opposing starting pitchers. Atlanta’s five-run outburst on Monday – for the Braves, the league’s lowest scoring offense, this is considered an explosion – was mostly earned against the Pirates’ bullpen, as Jon Niese still tallied six strikeouts while allowing only two earned runs. Juan Nicasio stands to piggyback on Niese’s outing while lowering his somewhat inflated ERA. With Nicasio’s excellent personal strikeout rate, the table is set for a big outing.

Yordano Ventura/Rick Porcello – A rainout on Monday prevented Ventura and Porcello from squaring off in Kansas City. The two were among our top pitching recommendations for Monday, and they remain on the radar for Tuesday, especially when comparing prices to the rest of the options. Check out Monday’s column for a full breakdown.

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Toronto Blue Jays Hitters – After Sunday’s emotional fight in Texas, the Blue Jays took a predictable break from performing by getting blasted by the Rays on Monday. One day later, Toronto will be back to form against Chris Archer in his continually disappointing 2016 campaign. Archer still sports a ridiculously high strikeout rate, but his 4.57 ERA is more than one run higher than his career average. Unfortunately for Archer, he has not necessarily shown sweeping signs of improvement, as he is averaging only five strikeouts-per-game in his last three starts, compared to his 7.8 strikeout-per-game pace after his first five starts. Blue Jays hitters have already been stymied by Archer twice, this season, and a third time will go in their favor. Target all of Toronto’s bats on Tuesday.

Giancarlo Stanton – Giancarlo Stanton basically never leaves the list of hitters to consider, and Tuesday actually brings a relative discount for the slugger. Stanton will be opposed by Vincent Velasquez – whose strikeout rate remains obscenely high – and the Phillies’ starter has now allowed four earned runs in back-to-back contests after allowing a total of five earned runs in his first five starts of the season. In addition, Stanton is scorching the ball with a hard hit percentage of nearly fifty percent over the last seven days, but only has one home run and four total hits to show for it. As luck turns in his favor, Stanton will shine.

Baltimore Orioles Hitters – Currently the sixth-highest scoring offense in the league, the Baltimore Orioles are looking to get right back into their hitting ways against Wade Miley after an off-day. The southpaw sees an obvious dip in his peripherals against right-handed hitters – making it a necessity to own at least one hitter from the trio of Adam Jones, Manny Machado, and Mark Trumbo – but Miley’s ERA of nearly 5.00 suggests that he may not be in the game long enough for his numbers to matter.

Seattle Mariners Hitters – While Wade Miley draws the attention of Orioles hitters, Ubaldo Jimenez should be almost as forgiving for the Mariners’ offense. Jimenez’s ERA is also high – 4.87 – and his peripherals against left-handed bats make him an immediate target. Robinson Cano and Kyle Seager jump off the page, but Nelson Cruz is enticing, despite batting from the right side of the plate.

Texas Rangers Hitters – Like the Blue Jays, the Rangers saw an expected dip in intensity when facing the Athletics the day after a brawl against Toronto. Poised to rebound against Jessie Hahn, all Rangers bats are on radar. Specifically, Hahn allows an incredibly high percentage of hard hit contact to left-handed bats, making Rougned Odor a more affordable alternative to the aforementioned Robinson Cano.



Be sure to check the above chart for more of the expensive hitters – and the statistics of their matchups. Below, we focus on some of the best upside plays for their price.

Prince Fielder/Nomar Mazara – As noted, Jessie Hahn gets hit incredibly hard by left-handed bats, yet the prices for Prince Fielder and Nomar Mazara fail to capture their potential. Buy either and drool over the savings.

Joe Mauer – Between his hot streak and position atop the batting order, Joe Mauer has become a recent favorite to target. Little changes for Tuesday, as he draws right-handed Mike Pelfrey. Most importantly, the Twins scored eight runs on Monday, yet Mauer was a non-factor with an 0-for-5 dud. Expect him to rebound on Tuesday.

Jonathan Schoop – The power potential of Jonathan Schoop always makes the second baseman worth watching. Against the left-handed Miley in a game that should be higher-scoring, Schoop is an incredible bargain.

Featured Image Credit: Flickr User S.D. Dirk,_2013.jpg

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Mario Mergola
Mario Mergola is a writer, avid sports fan, former ESPN Radio producer, husband, and father who specializes in finding the hidden gems of the less-explored option. Follow @MarioMergola