STLCards' Covering The Bases - Sunday, August 14th

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Happy Sunday, Grinders! As usual, we have a healthy main slate today, with ten games available on DraftKings and eleven on FanDuel, as FD is including the series finale between the Diamondbacks and Rockies at Coors Field. As usual, Yahoo is also adding the later games onto their Sunday main slate. I will add some notes on those games at the bottom of the article.

Let’s dig in and see what this big slate has to offer!

Sunday Afternoon Pitching

Tier I Options

Zack Wheeler vs. Mets
Chris Bassitt vs. Phillies
Cristian Javier vs. A’s
Shane Bieber vs. Blue Jays

The slate is headlined by yet another solid pitching matchup in New York. After Suarez vs. Scherzer on Friday ended in a 2-1, 10 inning final score and Nola vs. deGrom on Saturday ended in a 1-0 final score, we will see what Bassitt and Wheeler can do today. I see four top arms on the slate, so let’s take a look at their 2022 data to date.

Wheeler – 2.63 ERA, 3.12 xFIP, 27% K, 6% BB, 28% hard hits, 12% SwStr
Bassitt – 3.39 ERA, 3.47 xFIP, 24% K, 6% BB, 25% hard hits, 11% SwStr
Javier – 3.14 ERA, 3.71 xFIP, 33% K, 9% BB, 32% hard hits, 14% SwStr
Bieber – 3.21 ERA, 3.09 xFIP, 25% K, 6% BB, 32% hard hits, 14% SwStr

Javier generally has the most volatility and risk/reward range of outcomes out of this group with his significantly higher strikeouts and walks compared to the rest of the pitchers. However, there’s also one big thing separating this tier today. While three of the four pitchers have to face the Mets, Phillies, and Blue Jays, Javier gets to face the hapless A’s. That’s more that enough to vault him to the top of this list, especially when you consider his strikeout rate.

Based on swinging strike rates, Bieber would be next in line for ceiling potential. However, I simply can’t endorse prioritizing him against Toronto. Tread carefully. Since we have already seen two pitching duels in New York, we could very easily see a third today. Given that the Philadelphia lineup is still fairly weak at the bottom, I’ll loosely rank Bassitt next in line, just slightly ahead of Wheeler.

I’ll keep an eye on projected ownership here. I don’t mind sprinkling in the lower owned arms of this group in GPP builds, but Javier is far and away my SP1 on this slate.

Tier II Options

Kevin Gausman vs. Guardians
Logan Gilbert vs. Rangers
Martin Perez vs. Mariners
Tyler Anderson vs. Royals
Miles Mikolas vs. Brewers
Lance Lynn vs. Tigers
Bryce Elder vs. Marlins

This is a very deep group of secondary arms. All of them have pretty good matchups today, though we do have some pitchers that have been struggling of late. Again, here’s a look at the 2022 data:

Gausman – 2.91 ERA, 2.79 xFIP, 28% K, 4% BB, 32% hard hits, 16% SwStr
Gilbert – 3.47 ERA, 3.94 xFIP, 22% K, 7% BB, 35% hard hits, 11% SwStr
Perez – 2.85 ERA, 3.70 xFIP, 21% K, 7% BB, 23% hard hits, 9% SwStr
Anderson – 2.72 ERA, 4.07 xFIP, 20% K, 5% BB, 27% hard hits, 12% SwStr
Mikolas – 3.50 ERA, 3.83 xFIP, 19% K, 5% BB, 29% hard hits, 8% SwStr
Lynn – 5.88 ERA, 3.56 xFIP, 24% K, 4% BB, 35% hard hits, 12% SwStr
Elder – 5.48 ERA, 5.72 xFIP, 14% K, 14% BB, 30% hard hits, 11% SwStr (4 starts)

The problem with most of this tier is that there isn’t any strikeout upside. Gausman is the only pitcher that provides that, and his numbers have leveled off over the past few months. That said, I still do like him today. The overall profile remains strong, and he has a strikeout rate and swinging strike rate 4% higher than any other pitcher in this tier. He is my preferred SP2 on DraftKings in GPP builds, where we can now get him at a discounted salary. I don’t love the matchup against a low strikeout Cleveland team, but he still has access to more of a ceiling than some of these other low strikeout pitchers.

Gilbert has been struggling mightily of late. No thanks.

Perez, Anderson, and Mikolas are all fine and relatively safe. If I had to pick one, it would be Anderson against the Royals, but that’s nothing of a ringing endorsement.

I have no idea what to do with Lance Lynn. He isn’t nearly as bad as his surface numbers suggest. He has been victimized by a .310 opposing BABIP and an 18% HR/FB rate. The data suggests that he should significantly improve, and perhaps that comes against a woeful Detroit offense. However, I said the same thing yesterday about Lucas Giolito, and even he gave up four runs to this offense. It has been nearly three weeks since the Tigers have scored more than five runs in a game. I don’t love Lynn as chalk, but he does make sense as a lower cost option today — especially at $6,800 on DK.

Elder is only listed here because he is a decent prospect with perhaps some point per dollar potential against a Marlins offense that has hit the skids over the last few weeks. It’s really only a thought on FD where he is minimum salary, and it’s tough to endorse that on such a deep pitching slate. I’ll pass.

In short, Lynn is the obvious chalk of this group. Gausman is my preferred pivot in tournaments. Anderson is next in line for safety, but none of the other options have much of a ceiling.

Sunday Afternoon Bats

Tier I Offenses

Rockies vs. Tommy Henry at Coors Field (FD Only)
Diamondbacks vs. Ryan Feltner at Coors Field (FD Only)
Dodgers vs. Brady Singer
Astros vs. Cole Irvin

The FanDuel and Yahoo slates are offering us the Coors Field game today, and it’s by far the most enticing spot for offense today. We have quite a few strong pitching options, and there simply aren’t a lot of great spots for bats.

The Rockies headline the list against an inexperienced lefty in Tommy Henry. Brendan Rodgers and Randal Grichuk both have .390+ wOBA marks against LHP this year, so they are great options. C.J. Cron used to be a “lefty masher” but has seen his splits reverse course this season. Still, it’s not like Henry can be expected to go deep into the game, and Cron has strong career data against lefties. I have no issues with any of these three hitters plus a full stack in GPP builds.

I have slightly less interest in Arizona today against Ryan Feltner, but they are still #2 on the FD wish list. Nobody on the team has a wOBA above .350 against RHP this year, which is part of what makes them difficult to love at elevated price tags. I’ll always be fine with the power potential of Varsho and Walker, with Ketel Marte being a strong second base option. Really, this is all about them facing a bad pitcher in Coors. I don’t mind going underweight in GPP builds if they happen to be chalk, but they do have an implied team total near six runs.

If you are playing on DraftKings, the options become a lot less exciting at the top. Even though Brady Singer is a decent pitcher, he’s not an overpowering arm, and the Dodgers are the Dodgers. They have now won 12 games in a row, and the offense is absolutely rolling right now. Over the last 30 days, they lead the league in team wOBA (.364) and ISO (.215). Freddie Freeman leads the way with a .410 wOBA in that span, and the usual suspects are all strong plays. Freeman and Betts are your top options, along with Will Smith at catcher on DK/Yahoo. Naturally, the full stack has plenty of upside as well.

Houston is one team that could rival the Dodgers for production against a low strikeout lefty in Cole Irvin. They scored eight runs in a similar matchup yesterday, with Alex Bregman breaking out of a funk with a first inning home run. Perhaps he is ready for a second half surge. Otherwise, Jose Altuve remains the easy top target with his .450+ wOBA and .360+ ISO to go along with fantastic career numbers against southpaws. Jeremy Pena also has a .200+ ISO this season, and Yordan Alvarez might go underowned in the L/L matchup despite elite splits of his own.

Tier II Offenses

Cardinals vs. Aaron Ashby
Braves vs. Braxton Garrett
Cubs vs. Justin Dunn
Reds vs. Keegan Thompson
Orioles vs. Drew Rasmussen
White Sox vs. Tyler Alexander
Rays vs. Jordan Lyles

The Cardinals rank second only to the Dodgers in team wOBA and ISO over the last month, and they are intriguing low owned options against Aaron Ashby today. Despite his 2-10 record, Ashby is not a gas can, but this is a tough matchup against a team that hits lefties well. Nolan Arenado and Paul Goldschmidt have elite splits against LHP, and Arenado is one of my favorite GPP options on the slate. Dylan Carlson and Tyler O’Neill have struggled of late but also profile better against a lefty. Don’t sleep on the Cardinals here.

Atlanta has been a top tier offense for the better part of three months now, but they land in Tier II today. Braxton Garrett has an xFIP around 3.00 with high strikeouts and low walks. In fact, you could make a case for him as a risk/reward SP2 today if you want. I’m largely off the expensive Atlanta bats in this spot, though it’s hard to argue against a super contrarian stack if you want to roll some out there.

The Cubs and Reds are terrible offenses, but they also face underwhelming pitchers today. On DraftKings, we have a lot of potential value plays in this game. Nick Madrigal, Nick Senzel, and Jake Fraley could all hit near the top of their respective batting orders, and they are all priced at the minimum $2,000 mark. You will need to find value in order to make your lineups work, and this is an opportunity to do that. Outside of the value, I do prefer the Cubs side more. Justin Dunn has a 6.07 xFIP in over 100 major league innings with a walk rate over 15%. The full stack has a lot of potential here, and I like the power bats like Happ, Contreras, and Wisdom as one-off plays.

BAL, CHW, and TB round out this group of teams. None of them crack my top five offenses on the slate, but there is some upside here. The White Sox would be my preferred target, as they do profile better against LHP. Luis Robert leads the way with a .442 wOBA and 1.035 OPS against lefties, while Jose Abreu also has strong numbers. If Josh Harrison happens to lead off today, he’s a solid value option as well.

Late Afternoon / Yahoo Notes

As usual, Yahoo has added the later afternoon games to their main slate. For those of you playing over there and/or playing the later slates on FD/DK, here are a few notes on those games:

1) There is nothing to love for pitching in these games. With only three additional games later in the day, we only have six options. Alex Wood is the top pitcher almost by default in a matchup against the Pirates. You need to prioritize him in the afternoon only slates, but he’s not necessary on the full day offerings.

2) Minnesota grades out as my favorite offense against Tucker Davidson. Byron Buxton and Carlos Correa are your top options against a mediocre lefty.

3) Jameson Taillon rarely gets blown up, but the Red Sox did tag him for six runs in a Sunday night game earlier this year. Don’t sleep on the top six in this order as an interesting stack.

4) Michael Wacha is just coming back from injury and has to face the Yankees. That’s dangerous. Wacha is a reverse splits pitcher, so give me the NYY RH power bats here. Judge, Torres, and Donaldson are very strong targets tonight.

Sunday Slate Summary

Pitcher Ranks

1) Cristian Javier
2) Lance Lynn
3) Kevin Gausman
4) Chris Bassitt
5) Zack Wheeler
6) Tyler Anderson
7) Shane Bieber

Offense Ranks

1) COL (FD Only)
2) LAD
3) HOU
4) ARI (FD Only)
5) CHC
6) CIN
7) STL

Top Spend Up BatsMookie Betts, Jose Altuve, Willson Contreras, C.J. Cron (FD), Ketel Marte (FD), Trea Turner, Nolan Arenado, Luis Robert

Top Mid Range / Value BatsJeremy Pena, Alex Bregman, Randal Grichuk, Alek Thomas, David Peralta, Nick Madrigal (DK), Jake Fraley, Nick Senzel, Joey Votto, Ian Happ, Dylan Carlson, Tyler O’Neill, Eloy Jimenez, Josh Harrison

Good luck today!

This DFS content is a part of our Premium Content Schedule and designed to help you build better lineups on DraftKings, FanDuel, Yahoo!, SuperDraft, and other daily fantasy contest providers. Access MLB Projections, Expert Rankings, Projected Ownership, MLB DFS Picks, and other Data Tools using this content hub. For our world-class optimizer that offers a suite of tools and information designed to help you crush the competition, please head to LineupHQ!

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About the Author

  • Justin Van Zuiden (stlcardinals84)

  • Justin Van Zuiden, aka stlcardinals84, is a popular RotoGrinders contributor and GrindersLive host who routinely finishes in the top 10 of the TPOY race. He’s appeared in numerous live finals and has logged countless six-figure wins in a host of different sports, including five in PGA. Justin is also a main contributor of sports betting picks at ScoresAndOdds.

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