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.
Ace day! You get an ace and you get an ace and you get an ace and you get an ace and you get an ace and you get an ace!
Actually wait, can you give me that back? I've only got five 60-plus game score aces, sorry about that.
Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, and Chris Sale were the top three starters drafted in many leagues (Jake Arrieta finished ahead of Sale in our ADP, but not even by a full pick). Kershaw and Scherzer are obvious picks against two weak offenses, but Sale could be an interesting alternative against the tough Blue Jays.
Sale has only got a 24 percent strikeout rate, down from his 32 percent last year, but it's dragged down substantially by his last outing against the Angels where he notched just three punchouts in seven innings. Of course, he also allowed just two hits and one unearned run so the low strikeout total shouldn't have you thinking he was any less dominant. Prior to that start, he was at 27 percent with his strikeout rate. In short, Sale's strikeouts are perfectly fine and you should be careful not to be unduly influenced by one game of an already small sample.
David Price is toting a 7.06 ERA with two gems and two nightmares, including an eight run beatdown at the hands of his former teammates from Tampa Bay. His base skills profile certainly doesn't point to a 7.06 ERA: 33 percent strikeout rate, six percent walk rate and a 16 swinging strike rate. However, his 3.17 FIP says he's not really that far from his normal self. I'd be careful not to just write it all off to bad luck, but I'm not panicked. Meanwhile, a trip to Atlanta is the perfect remedy to cure a wounded ERA.
Dallas Keuchel hasn't quite been Cy-Young-level this year with 10 walks in his first two starts and then a six-run thrashing the last time out. He did squeeze in eight scoreless on Detroit in between that, but one thing that has stood out about the other three starts is that they were on the road. It seems the road starts are trickier for him, which is probably why he doesn't register in the 60-plus game score range with a trip to Seattle on the docket.
His career 4.41 ERA on the road is heavily influenced by his 2012-13 when he was barely a fifth-starter, let alone a budding ace. Despite the fact that he's not great on the road, he's a worthy consideration on Tuesday because Safeco is one the road venues where he's been mostly good: 2.48 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, and 28 strikeouts in 29 innings.
Vincent Velasquez came back to earth in his second turn against the Mets, but perhaps we can use that to our favor as he's a little cheaper and the hype of the 16-strikeout masterpiece has died down. The Nationals have the best player in the universe in the middle of their lineup, but they aren't exactly lighting up the scoreboard outside of him. Just walk Bryce Harper every time, Vince!
You don't often see Gerrit Cole at just $7,200 bucks on DraftKings, but that's what Coors Field will do to a guy! We've seen that park make mincemeat of guys even better than Cole, but the price is alluring for such an extreme talent. Outside of a tough start against his nemesis (Cincinnati), Cole has been his usually great self this year. I probably wouldn't put him in my primary lineup, but if you're someone who likes to make a couple lineups, Cole should find his way in one of them.
There are some big risk in this range, making them better fits for tournaments over cash games. Ubaldo Jimenez gets the hapless Rays (3.6 runs/games), but he's still Ubaldo Jimenez. He has an 11 percent walk rate and a 1.59 WHIP. Plus, he has only gone more than five innings once in three starts. You know the risks associated with Jimenez. It's not usually if he falls apart, but when he falls apart. Good luck.
Rich Hill has two 10-strikeout games in four starts, but his other two were total duds (42 and 36 game scores). How comfortable can we really feel with a trip to Detroit on the docket? The Tigers right-handed heavy lineup is often brutal on lefties (the aforementioned Keuchel start notwithstanding). Hill is a strikeout machine, but the risk is severe.
The first time Jake Odorizzi saw the Orioles this year, they got him for four runs in six innings, but it was really one bad inning. He allowed all four runs in the second inning and allowed just three hits in his final four innings of that game. The O's are tough on anyone, but Odorizzi has the skills to handle them. The bigger question is whether or not he will get any run support to log his first win of the season.
Edinson Volquez has been on fire to start the season and while I think we all understand it won't continue -- especially at this 1.46 ERA level -- he does have a great shot at staying hot for this start. This is one where I go against the projected game score a bit. He's only tabbed for a 51 score, but this anemic Angels offense is last in weighted runs created plus (wRC+) against righties this year with a meager 56.
Remember the hype for Brandon Finnegan after he took that no-no deep against the Cubs? He has allowed nine runs in nine innings since then and while only five were earned, the supporting skills has been rough with just four strikeouts, six walks and three home runs. There is just going to be some volatility with the 23-year old lefty. Meanwhile the Mets are doing their best work against lefties this year, so I'm not sure this is the best start to jump back on the Finny train.
Carlos Martinez has put up excellent results in his three starts, but the strikeouts are way down and he draws a tough Diamondbacks team that doesn't strikeout much. They are scoring 4.9 runs per game (8th in MLB) and striking out just 19 percent of the time (8th-lowest in MLB). This doesn't look like the best spot for CarMart.
The Pirates blast lefties, sitting fourth in wRC+ at 127, and they get a lefty in Coors on Tuesday! A Coors series might just be what Andrew McCutchen needs to jumpstart his season (.684 OPS so far) while Francisco Cervelli and Jordy Mercer are already hitting well this year and will look to stay hot, especially against southpaws.
Oakland hitters don't jump out as DFS-friendly picks, but a matchup against Mike Pelfrey is a good way to get noticed. Big Pelf has more walks (12) than strikeouts (8) and his 3.68 ERA is completely fraudulent as evidenced by the vomit-inducing 2.18 WHIP he's toting. Lefties are doing the most damage against Pelfrey, which is great because that plays into the strength of this lineup. Look at Josh Reddick, Stephen Vogt, and Chris Coghlan as the best options, but also consider Billy Burns, Jed Lowrie, and Coco Crisp, all switch-hitters who will obviously be batting lefty on Tuesday.
I'm always cautious about using batter-vs-pitcher data, but the one area where I at least take a look is with knuckleballers, because they are so unique. The White Sox lineup has obliterated R.A. Dickey on the whole, though it's all of 109 combined plate appearances. The standouts are Jimmy Rollins (1.046 OPS in 29 PA), Melky Cabrera (1.111 in 18), Austin Jackson (.983 in 17), and Todd Frazier (1.500 in 12). OK, now I feel dirty for citing BvP, but there it is.
There aren't a lot of obvious stacks with Oakland and Pittsburgh as the only teams drawing a rating north of six overall, but there are some hand-specific matchups worth looking at. I'll include a name or two for each, too.
On the other end of things, you definitely want to avoid the offenses facing those aces: Marlins, Blue Jays, Phillies (let's be real, we're always avoiding them), Padres and Braves.
Most likely to go yard: David Ortiz.
Matt Wisler has been solid early on for the Braves, but he still struggles with lefties. He has a career .946 OPS against them and while it is improved to .736 so far this year, it's still a 319-point split compared to what he does against righties. Papi takes him yard for sure.
Most likely to swipe a bag: Jacoby Ellsbury.
He's out here straight stealing home, but more importantly he's got five stolen bases already and is looking rather spry early on.