In an effort to serve daily fantasy players and season-long fantasy players who use daily lineup settings, we present daily notes each day of the season. It's a daily version of our Fantasy Forecaster in which we project the best pitcher game scores as well as the best team-hitting matchups based upon a number of factors.
Jake Arrieta is worthy of all the accolades received after his second no-hitter in his last 11 starts dating to last year, so it's with some reticence that the following buzzkill is shared. In seasonal formats, Arrieta's special ratios are extremely valuable. However, in DFS, strikeouts are the thing, and while his whiff rate isn't terrible, it doesn't compare to the trio that worked Tuesday (Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer and Chris Sale). The lesson is when using Arrieta in DFS action, his price is more relevant than it is with other aces. That is, if his salary is reflective of his low ERA and WHIP, his DFS bang for the buck will lag behind other options. With that as a backdrop, Arrieta is set up to push his 2016 K/9 rate closer to the one-batter-per-inning mark he has exhibited the past two seasons as the Chicago Cubs will entertain the Milwaukee Brewers; the visitors are fanning at a 26-percent clip versus right-handers so far this year.
Until Matt Harvey demonstrates that he's more likely than not to pitch into the seventh inning with a strikeout per frame, he's not viable for DFS cash play. However, he still has the potential to ring up double-digit whiffs, which puts him in GPP consideration. His matchup with the Cincinnati Reds is favorable in terms of keeping scoring to a minimum but since the guests carry a respectable league-average strikeout rate versus righties, Harvey will need to bring his A-game to get goodly strikeouts, something he hasn't shown yet this season.
The Philadelphia Phillies are fanning at a bloated 34-percent clip while toting an anemic 0.238 weighted on-base average (wOBA) against southpaws. Gio Gonzalez throws a baseball with his left arm and has a date with the Phillies in Nationals Park. So according to the transitive property, Gonzalez is in a fantastic spot, especially since he has opened the season with 20 strikeouts against only four walks in 19 frames. Let others ride the Arrieta wave. Instead, use some of that grade-school math you never thought would come in handy and save some DFS budget.
While the math isn't quite as rosy for Jeff Samardzija, it's still favorable. The San Francisco Giants right-hander will take the hill in AT&T Park to face the San Diego Padres. Versus right-handers, the Friars sport a 24 percent strikeout rate and 0.263 wOBA. Samardzija's strikeouts remain tempered, but he has worked into the eighth inning twice in four starts, which is encouraging not to mention integral in DFS scoring.
Hisashi Iwakuma is an intriguing tournament option as the Seattle Mariners entertain the Houston Astros in an American League West tussle. The Astros have picked up where they left off last season by fanning at a 28-percent clip against righties. On the other hand, they check in with a productive 0.321 wOBA and one of the highest home run rates against right-handers. With Safeco Field neutralizing the Astros' power, Iwakuma is in a good spot to add a couple extra punchouts to his ledger, making him a value play.
Thus far, Sonny Gray's strikeout rate is a tick higher than last season's but it's come at the expense of some control. Both are likely to move toward Gray's career numbers, but for at least for now, the elevated strikeouts could continue as the Oakland Athletics right-hander squares off against a Detroit Tigers squad that's whiffed 26 percent of the time against righties. However, the contest is in Comerica Park, where the home team is dangerous. This means Gray, who normally profiles safer for cash play, is a rare contrarian tournament option.
The Clint Eastwood (do you feel lucky?) play of the day is Jose Quintana facing off against the Toronto Blue Jays in Rogers Centre. The Chicago White Sox southpaw is doing what he always does, fanning hitters at a clip a little above league average with outstanding control. As dangerous as they are, the Blue Jays are prone to strikeouts versus left-handers, putting Quintana in the picture for GPP play.
Kyle Gibson's shoulder injury has landed him on the disabled list, paving the way for the much-anticipated debut of Jose Berrios. By most accounts, not only does Berrios possess a plus arsenal, but he also displays composure and presence beyond his age (he'll turn just 22 in exactly one month). The Minnesota Twins rookie right-hander's debut will be in Target Field against the Cleveland Indians. Though the return of Michael Brantley changes the complexion of the Tribe's lineup, thus far they've been a mixed bag against right-handers. A 24 percent strikeout rate suggests Berrios can rack up some punchouts but a 0.346 wOBA portends to some scoring. If last season is any indication, Berrios will have the unfamiliarity edge and is thus very much in play in seasonal formats. DFS deployment, if he's even available, depends on the cost, keeping in mind the Twins aren't likely to allow their prized prospect to go deep into the game, regardless of how he's throwing and despite a shaky bullpen.
Switching the focus to seasonal formats, Patrick Corbin checks in with a lower-than-expected 64 percent ownership rate in ESPN leagues. No doubt, some of those owners are hesitant to start the Arizona Diamondbacks southpaw against the sweet-swinging St. Louis Cardinals. However, the Redbirds are doing the majority of their damage against righties, and are actually whiffing at an uncharacteristic 27 percent pace against lefties. This puts Corbin in a good spot to stream, not to mention deploy as a GPP play in DFS.
Chris Young is coming off a surprising outing where the strikeout pitch was working. Don't expect another 10-strikeout effort as the Los Angeles Angels don't fan much. However, they're near the bottom of the league in homers against righties which, combined with the spacious Angels Stadium, leaves Young with the rare favorable road start.
With the revamped game score formula, it can be assumed all hurlers checking in at 45 or below are no-brainers to avoid unless desperate. As such, a more efficient use of this bandwidth will be to highlight some of the risky options with a game score over 45.
A controversial example is Adam Wainwright as the veteran takes the hill against the Arizona Diamondbacks in Chase Field. Most will give the St. Louis Cardinals righty the benefit of the doubt. But consider he has fanned only nine in 22 1/3 innings. Through Monday, starters racked up at least nine in a game 39 times. The Snakes hit right-handers to the tune of a 0.340 wOBA. Your mileage may vary, but Wainwright is on the line until he ramps up the whiff rate to at least 7.0 per nine.
The Chicago Cubs are even more productive against right-handers as evidenced by a 0.362 wOBA in that scenario. As such, using Taylor Jungmann at Wrigley Field is a bad idea.
With the combination of switch-hitting Dexter Fowler leading off and Ben Zobrist in the five-hole, along with lefties Jason Heyward batting second and Anthony Rizzo cleaning up, the Chicago Cubs are going to be a nightmare for righty tossers all season. When the game is in Wrigley Field against mediocre right-handers, they'll challenge for the best-hitting scenario of the night. And when Miguel Montero is in the lineup, he'll be one of the top receiver options as well.
Justin Nicolino is expected to replace Jarred Cosart in the Miami Marlins rotation, which should make the right-handed contingent of the Los Angeles Dodgers quite happy. Enrique Hernandez and Howie Kendrick usually jump to the top of the order with a southpaw on the mound, setting the table for Yasiel Puig and Justin Turner.
After a short two-day visit to Turner Field, the home-and-home series between the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves moves to Fenway Park. With Bud Norris taking the ball for the visitors, the well-rested David Ortiz along with fellow lefties Travis Shaw and Brock Holt are set up for a productive evening. For his career, Norris also struggles versus righties so the rest of the home team's lineup is in play, offering a contrarian option to others that focus on hitters with the platoon edge.
Any time a game is played in Coors Field there's a chance for fireworks. If you're reading between the lines and surmising listing this contest last is a subliminal suggestion to fade Coors, you're spot on. He's young, but Jon Gray has the repertoire to stifle an offense, even one as dangerous as the Pittsburgh Pirates display. This isn't to suggest Gray will spin a shutout, only that stacking Bucs is risky. That said, picking on Jon Niese with right-handed swingers is never a bad idea. Just be willing to pay the price for Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story, though Ryan Raburn is a nice way to get some exposure at a reasonable price.
Most likely to hit a home run: After not starting for a couple of games, Big Papi is no doubt antsy and will be looking to take Bud Norris deep.
Most likely to steal a base: Last season, Taylor Jungmann was on the hill for 18 successful steals in just 119 1/3 innings and has already allowed two in 17 frames this season. Jason Heyward has yet to go deep but he's running, checking in with four stolen bags in five attempts. Look for him to add another pilfer or two to his ledger.