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.
Despite a full slate, the only hurler who cracks the elite tier on Saturday is Jacob deGrom. The Giants, however, aren't exactly an ideal matchup. They wear pitchers out, as they rank top five in the majors in runs scored and walk rate, while sporting the lowest strikeout rate in the National League.
It's worth noting that deGrom didn't top 82 pitches in either of his two starts season. He hasn't been fully ramped up the way many other pitchers have, putting into question how deep into the game deGrom will be able to go. He is always in play, but he's not a must-start in cash games given the variety of more cost-effective options in better spots.
Francisco Liriano has what should be a favorable matchup against a weak Reds lineup that has two of its most dangerous hitters, Joey Votto and Jay Bruce, working from the left side. That said, the Reds have put up a .350 wOBA against lefty pitching this season with a 16.6 percent whiff rate that ranks lowest in the NL, so they deserve some respect. Liriano can mow through good lineups when he has his best stuff, but given his home run (2.1 HR/9) and control (7.2 BB/9) issues so far, he makes for a better tournament play.
Speaking of tournament plays, that's the category where Chris Archer finds himself in for Saturday's home tilt against Toronto. Although the righty is coming off his best start of the season -- a 6 2/3-inning performance with 10 whiffs and no runs allowed -- he still owns a 5.47 ERA in five starts, has made it past the fifth inning only once and sports the highest hard-hit percentage (46.6 percent) in baseball. However, the Blue Jays are far less dangerous away from the Rogers Centre, as they sport a .294 wOBA and 27 percent whiff rate on the road, making this an intriguing matchup for Archer and his 13.3 K/9 rate.
Jordan Zimmermann won't give you a high strikeout total (5.5 K/9 this year), but he has been virtually unhittable this season, allowing only one earned run in four starts. He should keep on rolling against a Twins team that ranks bottom five in the AL in runs scored and is whiffing 23 percent of the time versus right-handed pitching. Solid cash-game play.
Jaime Garcia made headlines earlier this season for his 13-strikeout, complete-game shutout against the Brewers. However, he failed to register a quality start in any of his other three outings, and his control has been an issue in his last two starts -- he walked seven over the last 10 innings. Busch Stadium favors pitchers and Garcia owns a 2.65 career ERA there in 66 games (61 starts), but the counterpoint is that the Nationals have hammered lefty pitching (.363 wOBA), albeit with a 24 percent whiff rate.
Inconsistency has been an issue for John Lackey this season. While he has two quality starts with a combined 18 K's, he also has two starts in which he allowed a combined 12 runs in 11 2/3 innings. Fortunately, a home start against the Braves and their MLB-worst .261 wOBA can help cure many a struggling pitcher. Plus, the 9.6 K/9, 2.1 BB/9 and 2.96 xFIP indicate Lackey has been pitching much better than his 4.97 ERA suggests. I'd feel comfortable using him in cash.
Zack Greinke finds himself with a lower Game Score than you might expect, but his 6.16 ERA and 1.47 WHIP through five starts is hard to ignore. The 7.0 K/9 rate (8.1 career) doesn't help matters. Facing the Rockies in Arizona is much better than facing them at Coors Field, but Chase Field is still hitter-friendly and the Rockies blasted him for seven runs in four innings there earlier this season. Greinke should ultimately get back on track soon, but more appealing cash options can be found elsewhere Saturday. He could be lower owned in GPPs, though he lacks high strikeout upside.
The concerns with Yordano Ventura are the 5.5 walk rate and the fact that his 2.35 ERA is partly fueled by a .226 BABIP and 83.3 left-on-base percentage. That said, the matchup against Seattle is a good one. While the Mariners have home-field advantage, they sport just a .279 wOBA at Safeco while averaging just 3.2 runs per game. Ventura can't be considered the safest cash option, but he could be a worthwhile SP2 depending on cost.
Although he can't be expected to pitch deep into the game, there's some obvious intrigue around Kevin Gausman, who has plenty of whiff potential for what should be a very cap-friendly price for GPPs. The White Sox make a lot of contact, which dampens some of the upside, but it's an offense that has done very little in the early going.
Ross Stripling's 57 Game Score means he deserves to be in the tier above, but I'm placing him here because he's still available in 80 percent of ESPN.com leagues. With a home start against a Padres team that sports an MLB-worst .263 wOBA against righties to go along with a 26 percent strikeout rate, Stripling is an ideal streaming candidate. He also deserves SP2 consideration in DFS.
A free agent in 77 percent of leagues, Derek Holland gets a home start against the Angels, who rank bottom five in runs scored and struggle away from home (.284 wOBA). The only catch is they have struck out just 11.4 percent of the time against southpaws this season, the lowest mark in baseball.
With an ownership percentage of 62 percent, Wei-Yin Chen isn't as widely available as the two names above. However, if you're streaming starters, it's worth checking to see if your league is part of the 38 percent in which he's still available. Despite the 4.32 ERA, Chen's peripherals are largely in line with where they were last year when he held a 3.34 ERA, and he's facing a Brewers team that sports a .297 wOBA and 27 percent whiff rate against lefties.
Julio Teheran is coming off two pretty strong starts after getting roughed up by the Cardinals and Nationals, but I'm still keeping my distance for his road matchup against the Cubs. In addition to having scored the second-most runs in baseball, the North Siders have produced a .355 wOBA versus righty pitching, the second-highest mark in baseball. Not only that, but Teheran has been clobbered by left-handed hitting, surrendering a .386 wOBA in 2015 and a .407 mark. And it just so happens that the top half of the Cubs' lineup is stocked with switch-hitters and left-handed bats. Look elsewhere.
As discussed above, left-handed Cubs bats are great targets against Teheran, who has struggled against them since the start of last season. Jason Heyward and Anthony Rizzo, as well as switch-hitters Dexter Fowler and Ben Zobrist, are all worth consideration.
Alfredo Simon is toeing the rubber for the Reds on Saturday, meaning Pirates bats -- particularly those that hit from the left side -- are great options. The righty allowed a .369 wOBA to lefty bats in 2015, and this season that mark sits at .673 after he allowed 14 of the 25 left-handed bats he has faced to reach base (with half of those being extra-base hits). John Jaso and Gregory Polanco are great plays, and Matt Joyce would be a fantastic punt if he's in the lineup.
If you're looking for some under-the-radar options, consider left-handed Indians bats against Jerad Eickhoff. Although he got off to a nice start, Eickhoff, who was touched up for seven runs in 5 1/3 innings his last time out, has yet to figure out a way to consistently get left-handed hitters out. That puts the top half of the Indians lineup in play on Saturday, with Carlos Santana, Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor and the recently activated Michael Brantley all hitting from the left side.
Matt Cain just isn't a good pitcher anymore. Over his last 17 appearances (15 starts), he owns a 5.95 ERA, with damage coming from both sides of the plate. In other words, the Mets present a nice stacking opportunity.
Most likely to go yard: Heyward
He has yet to hit a home run this season. With Teheran on the mound, this is the day.
Most likely to swipe a bag: Starling Marte
Alfredo Simon isn't particularly good at keeping runners close, and he's not good at keep hitters off first base, either. That's a combination that Marte can take advantage of Saturday.