sMLB Grind Down: Friday, August 16th - HOU @ OAK

Houston at Oakland – 10:07 PM ET

Verlander is one of the best pitchers in baseball. In 25 starts this season, he owns a 3.11 SIERA with a strikeout rate of 35% and a walk rate of 5%. He’s a fly-ball pitcher that should benefit from playing in Oakland. He seems to get his strikeouts regardless of the matchup, but the A’s do have a low k-rate against right-handed pitching. I have no issue with Verlander other than his price point and the fact that we have so many great arms on the schedule tonight.

Quick Breakdown: Verlander is a strong play in all formats, but he’s not going to make the final cut in my lineups.

Roark has some incredible splits this season. He has held righties to a .290 xwOBA with a 21% strikeout rate, but has allowed a .383 xwOBA and a .201 ISO to lefties. He should have the platoon advantage tonight against the Astros, but these aren’t your average right-handed hitters. Houston’s projected lineup has an average xwOBA of .353 with an average k-rate of only 18% against right-handed pitching.

Quick Breakdown: Avoid Roark in all formats.

Batter Grind Down

The Astros’ righties are so talented and could easily overcome a matchup against Tanner Roark, but I don’t see a need to pay a premium for them in this slate. The matchup clearly sets up better for the left-handed bats of Michael Brantley (.378 xwOBA) and Yordan Alvarez (.426 xwOBA). They are both strong one-off targets for tournaments.

Elite PlaysMichael Brantley (GPP), Yordan Alvarez (GPP)

Secondary PlaysJose Altuve (GPP), Alex Bregman (GPP)


The A’s are facing Justin Verlander in a pitcher-friendly ballpark. In addition to an elite strikeout rate, he has held both left and right-handed hitters under a .280 xwOBA this season. He’ll give up a decent number of home runs, but trying to predict where those will come from is a fruitless venture.

Elite Plays – None

Secondary Plays – None


About the Author

  • Derek Farnsworth (Notorious)

  • Derek Farnsworth, aka Notorious, is one of the most recognizable names and faces in all of DFS, thanks in large part to the great advice he gives on a daily basis in’s Grind Down for NBA and MLB as well as the First Look column that gives a preview of the day’s games from a DFS perspective. Before joining the RotoGrinders team, Derek received a Masters Degree from the University of Utah. When he’s not busy providing content, he’s dominating the industry as evidenced by his consistent top rankings in multiple sports. Farnsworth provides expert analysis for RotoGrinders Premium members on a daily basis during the NBA season and has also been nominated for five different Fantasy Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA) awards.

    Interview after $100,000 Win


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