Chimezie Metu will be available to play Friday when the Kings take on the San Antonio Spurs. Metu will most likely not see much time as he was questionable all the way up to game time but the little time that he does see (we have him projected for 10 minutes) will likely come at the expense of Damian Jones and possibly a couple minutes from Marvin Bagley and/or Richaun Holmes. Metu is not yet DFS relevant and likely will remain that way unless Holmes or Bagley is forced to miss time.
We expected this after Crowder was upgraded to probable Coach Monty Williams gave us an update about an hour ago and it sounded like Crowder will play tonight (and absorb most of the minutes vacated by Cam Johnson who is out tonight) and be limited meaning a few extra minutes for Torrey Craig and Dario Saric. The Suns offense should still primarily be run through Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Deandre Ayton.
Immanuel Quickley and Alec Burks both have been ruled out Friday after being listed as doubtful the whole day. Elfrid Payton, RJ Barrett and Derrick Rose should continue to see most of the guard minutes while the offense should run primarily through Julius Randle.
We expected this after Coach Monty Williams gave us an update a few minutes ago but it sounds like Crowder will play tonight and be limited meaning a few extra minutes for Torrey Craig and Dario Saric. The Suns offense should still primarily be run through Chris Paul, Devin Booker, and Deandre Ayton.
Coach Monty Williams said he will talk to Crowder after he warms up to determine how much he will play but it will not be his full minutes allotment Friday, this will likely mean Torrey Craig or Dario Saric will see some extra minutes until Crowder is fully healthy.
JJ Redick was a late addition to the injury report and has been ruled out Friday. We did not expect him to see much playing time anyway and the backup guard minutes should be handled by Jalen Brunson and Trey Burke with a few minutes possibly going to Josh Green.
Romeo Langford who was listed as questionable all day is available to play Friday. We do not expect to see him garner much playing time and at this point he is not DFS relevant with the depth at the guard positions the Celtics have.
When the Mariners face the Rangers, daily fantasy players are merely hoping for some pitching competence in two high upside spots. Both teams are likely to be sporting several 30K%+ bats in their lineups. Interestingly though, the Seattle lineup is not entirely depleted of competent bats against RHP either and most of those bats bat from the right side. What makes this even more intriguing though, is that batters from either side of the plate are within one point of a .337 wOBA against Mike Foltynewicz since 2019 and Statcast even raises same-handed bats to a .343 xwOBA. The Mariners have a reasonable 4.12 implied run line smack in the middle of the board today. Suddenly, this is turning into a spot where you might want to attack this pitcher. If so, Mitch Haniger is the key bat here. He is the only RHB in the lineup who exceeds a 100 wRC+ and .200 ISO vs RHP since 2019, along with a 100 wRC+ over the last 30 days overall. Ty France only lacks in the power department (.139 ISO), while Kyle Lewis (124 wRC+, .212 ISO vs RHP) costs around $500 less, likely due to his 77 wRC+ this season. Chris Flexen also has a similar issue on the other side of this matchup, but wOBA and Statcast have a bit of a disagreement there (LHBs .339 wOBA, .300 xwOBA – RHBs .320 wOBA, .362 xwOBA). Keeping it simple, David Dahl and Jonah Heim are the only projected batters below a 105 wRC+ for the Rangers over the last 30 days. Texas is a bit higher on the board with a 4.38 implied run line.
Charlie Morton has a 5.08 ERA and the Phillies don’t immediately jump out as a high upside matchup, while Atlanta generally plays as a positive run scoring environment, but now that we’ve gotten all that out of the way, let’s consider why he may still be one of the top values on the slate. Morton’s velocity is back up to 95 mph this year and his strikeout rate has increased to 27.5% along with it. His ground ball rate is also back up to 51.7%. His 87.6 mph EV is right on his career rate and one of the lower marks on the board today, along with 5.7% Barrels/BBE. All of his estimators are about a run and a half below his 5.08 ERA, due to a 65.1 LOB%. The Phillies have just an 80 wRC+ and 27.1 K% vs RHP this year. Even if Bryce Harper returns tonight, he’s the only batter in the projected lineup above a 108 wRC+ vs RHP since 2019 and only three are above a .180 ISO. Only two batters of the projected eight are below a 22 K% vs RHP over that span. Morton has already faced the Phillies twice this year (first two starts) and struck out 12 of 45 batters. Lastly, he costs less than $8K on either site. Morton has only completed six innings in half of his six starts, but has recorded sixth inning outs in five straight.
Bullpens generally have more turnover than any other part of a baseball team, so it might be a good idea to track their performances using rolling 30 day statistics. If you add up ERA, SIERA, FIP and xFIP, dividing by four, three major league bullpens exceed five over the last month. The Reds (5.58) have been the worst of them all, overtaking the Tigers (5.32) this week. Wade Miley doesn’t miss a lot of bats, but does generate a lot of weak ground balls. Regardless, Jordan Luplow has smashed LHP (174 wRC+, .348 ISO since 2019) and should be cheaply near the top of the lineup tonight.
The spot in Detroit is certainly more interesting tonight though and that’s because Tarik Skubal has a 3.8 K-BB% and 21.4 GB%. Eight of 14 Barrels (19.7%) have left the yard. His pitch mix has changed a bit this year. It’s not working. He has a 9.18 xERA and that’s not even his worst estimator. Not one is below six. In his short career, RHBs are above a .400 wOBA and xwOBA. We could be disappointed by the likely absence of Byron Buxton in this spot or simply load up on Nelson Cruz (214 wRC+, .411 ISO vs LHP since 2019) and Mitch Garver (178 wRC+, .370 ISO). If you’re concerning about the price tags, then Garlick (Kyle) is on the value menu tonight. He has a 110 wRC+ and .246 ISO vs LHP and costs just $2.6K or less on either site.
The other terrible bullpen over the last month resides in Kansas City (5.13). The White Sox are dealing with some long term injuries, which have lightened their lineup, but Brad Keller has been shelled this year (13.6 K%, 44.8 GB%, 11.5% Barrels/BBE). Statcast believes Keller has been a bit fortunate in the past, driving his xwOBA up above .320 against batters from either side of the plate. Nick Madrigal (120 wRC+ vs RHP since 2019) doesn’t have any power, but he’s been shifted to the top of the lineup recently and is a cheap bat that should be in the middle of any run scoring in this matchup. Yermin Mercedes (180 wRC+) still costs less than $3K on FanDuel. Additionally, the Diamondbacks (4.94), Rockies (4.90) and Angels (4.85) have all struggled in relief recently.
On the one hand, Patrick Corbin has allowed just six runs over his last 17 innings, but on the other, he’s done so with just 12 strikeouts to seven walks and three HRs. It’s hard to spin any positives on his performance this year. The contact profile (12% Barrels/BBE) suggests he deserves an ERA above seven. A 5.58 SIERA is his best estimator. The Yankees have murdered LHP this year (125 wRC+, 20.8 K%, 19.7 HR/FB) and have a 140 wRC+ over the last seven days. You certainly didn’t expect this offense to remain dormant all season. In 92 PAs against Corbin, the current roster has a .478 xwOBA with just a 15.2 K%. DJ LeMahieu has seven XBHs in 55 PAs with a .491 xwOBA. The blistering bat of Giancarlo Stanton (183 wRC+ last 30 days) has a .419 xwOBA in 20 PAs against Corbin that includes two HRs and two doubles. He has a 104.4 mph EV on fly balls and line drives this year. RHBs have a .328 wOBA (.337 xwOBA) against Corbin since 2019. The projected Yankee lineup includes four RHBs above a 120 wRC+ and six above a .200 ISO vs LHP over that same span. A rarity that we don’t find a team above five implied runs on a 14 game slate, but that’s partially due to cooler early season weather and perhaps a lower run scoring environment overall, but no surprise to see the Yankees near the top of the board. They are one of three teams right around 4.8 implied runs tonight and not very cheap (though LeMahieu is just $3.2K on FD), but likely worth your investment tonight.
Jae’Sean Tate who missed last game because of health and safety protocols said he will be a game-time decision Friday because of a sore left knee when the Rockets take on the Milwaukee Bucks. Tate joins Christian Wood, Kelly Olynyk, and DJ Augustin as questionable while eight other Rockets’ players are listed as out. Tate could be forced to suit up so the Rockets meet the minimum of eight available players regardless of how his knee is feeling but if he is truly good to go he should see a ton of minutes and be considered a decent play at his price point.
High upside spots not belonging to high cost pitchers feature Chris Flexen (at Rangers), Mike Foltynewicz (vs Mariners), Matt Shoemaker (vs Tigers), Tarik Skubal (at Twins) and Sean Manaea (vs Rays). Addressing the elephant in the room immediately, the projected Minnesota lineup includes five batters exceeding a 25 K% vs LHP since 2019 and three above 34%. However it also includes five batters above a .200 ISO and Skubal is an extreme fly ball pitcher you probably want no part of tonight, while the same can be said of his opponent. Shoemaker has failed to strike out a single batter in two of his last three starts.
The other direct matchup we have here is Chris Flexen facing Mike Foltynewicz. Flexen failed to strike out any of the 17 Angels he faced last time out, after striking out seven of 25 Red Sox. He’s at 18.4% on the year with an 8.2 SwStr%. He’s walked just six, but been lucky that only two of his seven Barrels (8.1%) have left the yard. Non-FIP estimators sit a bit above four with a 6.5 HR/FB seeming unsustainable, though the .333 BABIP is a bit high too. He’s still somewhat reasonable facing a projected lineup with four batters exceeding a 27 K% vs RHP since 2019. Meanwhile, a 16.5 K-BB% is the second highest of Mike Foltynewicz’s career, but a 91.3 mph EV is more than two mph above his previous high. He’s already allowed 12 Barrels (12.1%), nine of which have left the yard. A 4.32 ERA is a bit above some estimators (SIERA, xFIP), but well below others (FIP, DRA), due to an 89.2 LOB% and 21.4 HR/FB. Again here, the upside may be worth the risk as a secondary arm on DraftKings for less than $7K, when facing a projected Seattle lineup that includes four batters above a 30K% vs RHP since 2019.
Manaea isn’t exactly cheap, exceeding $9K on DraftKIngs, but costs just $8K on FanDuel. He has ridden a velocity increase to a league average 23.7 K% and 12 SwStr%, which represents an improvement for him. Without much of a change in pitch usage, his ground ball rate has dropped below 40% for the first time, but that’s not much of a concern in Oakland. He’s allowed four long balls this year on seven Barrels (7.1%). Every estimator except a 4.87 DRA is below four. As they proved last night, the Rays could put double digit strikeouts on the board offensively, but still generate runs. Six of nine projected starters for the Rays tonight exceed a 25 K% vs LHP since 2019. Manaea is a reasonable alternative on DraftKings, but also potentially a top value on FanDuel at his current cost.
Although there are four $10K pitchers on FanDuel and just two on DraftKIngs, Carlos Rodon is the only pitcher who reaches that mark on both sites. Finally the pitcher the White Sox always thought and hoped he would blossom into as a prospect, a velocity increase has led to a 37.9 K% (17.3 SwStr%). Some control issues still persist. He walked five in one start and three in another, but as long as they don’t get too far out of hand, it won’t really hurt him with such a high rate of punch-outs. With a near average exit velocity and ground ball rate just below 40%, he’s allowed just three Barrels (6.4%) and one HR. Even though his 0.72 ERA is well below estimators (.130 BABIP, 90.9 LOB%, 5.0 HR/FB), his 2.32 xERA is best on the board. All of that said, as the most expensive pitcher on the board on FD (2nd on DK), he may be a tad over-priced or more likely accurately priced in a marginal spot against the Royals, who have just a 17.9 K% vs LHP this year.
The most expensive pitcher on DraftKings is Blake Snell at $10.2K. From a strikeout perspective (31.6%) this looks fine, but he hasn’t exceeded eight in a game this year because with his velocity falling off later in games, the Padres have taken the same conservative approach to Blake Snell’s outings as the Rays did. He’s reached 95 pitches just once. The 12.8 BB% is also a bit concerning and doesn’t help his pitch count. A 3.51 ERA is in line with more traditional estimators, though his DRA (2.88) and xERA (4.73) are in substantial disagreement, but he’s also facing the Giants, who have a 109 wRC+, 7.2 K-BB% and 22 HR/FB vs LHP. You can’t pay that price for Snell today and probably not even $9K on FanDuel, considering the expected workload.
Additional $10K pitchers on FanDuel include Jack Flaherty ($9.4K DK), Julio Urias ($9.7K DK) and Trevor Rogers ($8.8K DK). Flaherty struck out a season high nine Pirates last time out to push his season rate up to 25.9% on the season, which isn’t too far above league average this year. The ground ball rate is down to 36%, but may not hurt him much in that park, even though the 91.2 mph EV is third worst on the board today. That pushes his xERA up to 4.22, well above a 3.41 ERA and all his other estimators. The attraction here is the Rockies with four batters in the projected lineup above a 25 K% vs RHP since 2019. Urias has a 24.7 K-BB% through six starts to go along with a ground ball rate increase to 44% and his normally excellent contact management (86.8 mph EV). A 2.87 ERA is within a quarter of a run of all his estimators. The Dodgers are also letting him pitch deeper into games this year too, facing at least 22 batters in every start. There is just one quality RH bat in a projected Angels’ lineup with four batters above a 25 K% vs LHP since 2019. Rogers is coming off his worst outing (three runs in five innings in Washington). He does have a 10% walk rate, but a 33.8 K% (16.5 SwStr%). Despite a 36.2 GB%, he’s allowed just four Barrels (5.6%) and two HRs. Estimators range from a 2.59 FIP to a 3.64 DRA. The 84.8 LOB% and 7.1 HR/FB seem unsustainable, but he’s facing the Brewers tonight. Four of eight batters in this projected lineup exceed a 25 K% vs LHP since 2019 as well.
Urias and Rondon are the guys averaging at least six innings per start if that’s what you’re looking for on FanDuel, but Rogers might have the highest upside on the board. Without over-whelming ownership concerns (projections update later this afternoon), Urias and Rogers would seem the optimal choices here, especially the latter on DraftKings for less than $9K.
Hutchinson will be a game-time decision as the Wizards play the Toronto Raptors. If he does end up sitting, it should be a few more minutes for Davis Bertans, Issac Bonga, and Anthony Gill.