This Monday slate will be busier than usual, with only four clubs enjoying a day off. The slate is balanced, with solid options for DFS play at all levels, along with a couple pitchers likely available to get your seasonal league week off to a strong start. Coors Field is back in the picture, but with a couple of talented hurlers on the hill, there's good reason to look elsewhere as well. We'll point you in the right direction with Monday's Daily Notes.
Since July 1, Jose Fernandez's surface stats are rather pedestrian, with a 4.00 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. However, a 12.5 K/9 in combination with a 2.33 BB/9 over that span suggests something is amiss. The culprit is a bloated .385 batting average on balls in play (BABIP), which is rendered even more curious because his hard hit rate against during this time is well below average. This is a reminder that Lady Luck doesn't play favorites. Next up for the Miami Marlins righty is a date with the New York Mets at Citi Field. Expect another big game from Fernandez, as the hosts' offense is below average versus right-handers and prone to striking out.
Jake Arrieta, on the other hand, has enjoyed some good fortune, as he carries a .242 BABIP for the season. To his credit, he has induced more soft contact and less hard contact than league average. However, the jury is still out with regard to how much of that is under the pitcher's control and how much is happenstance. Regardless, it's fortuitous that Arrieta's hits allowed are low, as his walk rate is well above league average and he is fanning fewer batters than he did last season. Facing the Pittsburgh Pirates at Wrigley Field, Arrieta is fine for DFS cash games. If you're paying for tournament pitching, stick with Fernandez.
Carlos Martinez has supplanted Adam Wainwright as the leader and stabilizing force for an injury-riddled St. Louis Cardinals rotation. The Redbirds' righty begins the week on the road at Miller Park, facing a Milwaukee Brewers club that strikes out more than 25 percent of the time versus righties. His consistency usually provides a solid cash game floor, and the strikeout upside means he's in play for tournaments as well.
After six straight efforts with no more than one walk, Yu Darvish issued five free passes his latest time out. Consider this a blip -- not a concern. What is worrisome is a home date with a Seattle Mariners club that is loaded with solid lefty swingers. The risk takes the 30-year-old righty out of cash game consideration, but with a 11.2 K/9, Darvish is always in play for GPP deployment.
Trevor Bauer's strikeouts aren't as plentiful now as they were earlier in the season, but that has been balanced by his pitching into the seventh frame in three of his past four outings and walking only a pair in each. The Minnesota Twins have been a league average club with a righty on the hill for the past month, with a strikeout rate a bit above average. One-lineup gamers might not want to click on Bauer, but there's ample upside to get some exposure for those opting to diversify their portfolios.
Matt Shoemaker continues to get the job done, despite a precipitous drop in strikeout rate spurred by his inducing fewer swinging strikes. The Los Angeles Angels' right-hander sets up nicely for cash play, as the Halos welcome the Cincinnati Reds to Anaheim for an interleague set. The Reds get to employ a designated hitter, but that's balanced by a park hit.
The projected game score algorithm is very good, but it's hard to generate a one-size-fits-all metric that captures everything of importance intrinsic to all the formats covered in this space. That's a fancy way of saying Rick Porcello has been shortchanged because his strength, going deep into games, isn't enough to make up for a pedestrian strikeout rate. We rarely override the algorithm, but in this instance, lifting Porcello out of the streaming tier is justified. The Boston Red Sox righty has a chance at a few extra whiffs against a Tampa Bay Rays lineup that fans at a 24 percent clip when facing right-handers, providing sufficient motivation to give him a boost in the rankings.
Remember Rafael Montero? He was supposed to be the next Mets ace before guys such as Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom were even on the radar. Still just 25 years old, Montero has fought his way through a demotion to Double-A to earn another shot with the big club. There's obviously some risk, but at least Montero comes back to the Big Apple with some confidence, spinning a 1.57 ERA and 1.13 WHIP with 20 whiffs in his past 23 innings for Double-A Binghamton, a span of four starts. The righty draws a Marlins club that is league average against righties but is without Giancarlo Stanton and Derek Dietrich.
Aside from an elevated home run rate, Matt Boyd has filled in well for an injury-depleted Detroit Tigers rotation. The Chicago White Sox visit Comerica Park for the opener of an AL Central set toting one of the lowest home run rates versus lefties in the league. Boyd is owned in only 23 percent of ESPN formats, so he's likely available if you want to get a jump-start on the week.
Like Boyd, Dillon Gee has helped fortify an injury riddled rotation. The Kansas City Royals will toe the rubber at Kauffman Stadium against a New York Yankees squad that has been bringing it lately. Still, at home, Gee's in play.
It usually pays to be aggressive early in the week, but everything is contextual. Granted, only a few streaming options were featured, but depending on your scoring, format and needs, others are viable. If you want to run your scenario by me, I'll gladly share my opinion in the comments below or via Twitter to @ToddZola.
With that as a backdrop, there are only two hurlers to avoid at all costs. Wade Miley is a blow-out waiting to happen, as he faces the daunting power of the Toronto Blue Jays at Camden Yards. The other is Jake Thompson, a promising Philadelphia Phillies prospect. Just 22 years old, Thompson will continue to mature, but for now, he's walking far too many to use him against a Washington Nationals lineup that's beginning to click.
The Colorado Rockies are home all week entertaining the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Arizona Diamondbacks. There will be plenty of chances to take advantage of weak pitchers at altitude. Monday looks like a good time to fade Coors Field, with Jon Gray and Kenta Maeda toeing the rubber for their respective clubs. Feel free to use Rockies and Dodgers, especially in DFS cash games. The focus here will be some of the better alternatives for DFS tournament action.
Wade Miley's HR/9 is 1.5. That doesn't bode well with the likes of Jose Bautista, Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion, Russell Martin and Troy Tulowitzki visiting Camden Yards. In fact, there's a good chance that a Blue Jays stack against the Baltimore Orioles' southpaw is a popular pivot from Coors.
A way to go contrarian is to not worry about platoon edges and focus on good hitters facing lesser hurlers. It helps if the pitcher's control is suspect. That's the exact scenario at Citizens Bank Park, with the Nationals facing Jake Thompson and the Phillies. Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy should have high exposure, so the swerve is clicking in Trea Turner, Jayson Werth, Anthony Rendon, Wilson Ramos and Ryan Zimmerman, all capable of doing damage against the inexperienced Thompson.
So much for James Shields getting back on track. The White Sox righty has returned to form, serving up 11 gophers in his previous four starts. Now he gets to face the powerful Tigers in Motown. Here's another instance to throw platoon advantages out the window, with righty swingers Ian Kinsler, Miguel Cabrera, J.D. Martinez and Justin Upton all threats to pad their home run totals. Don't forget the switch-hitting Victor Martinez.
Continuing the right-on-right trend, several Red Sox righties are in play against Tampa Bay righty-hander Matt Andriese at Fenway Park. Let's start with lefties Brock Holt, Travis Shaw -- and David Ortiz. Including Dustin Pedroia, Mookie Betts or Hanley Ramirez could get some GPP differentiation.
Most likely to hit a homer: A bigger challenge could be picking a Blue Jay who won't go deep. No one has hit more homers than Edwin Encarnacion over the past calendar year, so let's give him the nod to send one out of Camden Yards.
Most likely to swipe a bag: Part of the trick here is finding someone with a good chance to get on, as well as the ability to run. Trea Turner has drawn only six walks all season, but he's facing Jake Thompson and his generous 6.1 BB/9. Turner has quietly been successful on 17 of 20 stolen base attempts. He's in a great spot to improve that impressive mark even more.