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.
There are no pitchers that qualify for the elite tier on this abbreviated Monday slate.
If Jordan Zimmermann's strikeout rate were more dominant, he'd be an elite option. Alas, a 5.25 K/9 is well below the league average. Otherwise, Zimmermann is having a typical season, suggesting 2015 was an outlier and not a harbinger of things to come. The Detroit Tigers' right-hander may not be piling up the strikeouts, but he is going deep into games, tossing at least six innings in all six of his starts, with seven or more his past three. It should be more of the same with a date in Comerica Park against a Minnesota Twins squad that's sporting a pedestrian .310 weighted on base average (wOBA) and above average 23 percent strikeout rate against righties. Even with the added whiff potential, Zimmermann is still better suited for DFS cash action.
Making an already spotty slate even more uncertain is the next two highest ranked pitchers are squaring off. Both southpaws are in a spot to rack up some strikeouts, as Drew Smyly leads the Tampa Bay Rays into Rogers Centre to challenge J.A. Happ and the Toronto Blue Jays. Smyly's 10.5 K/9 is far superior that Happ's 5.6 mark, however, Happ faces a club with a 25 percent mark against lefties as compared to the 23 percent Smyly will see. An argument can be made either way. In these scenarios, use win potential as a tiebreaker with home-field helping give the nod to Happ.
Another intriguing pairing takes place in the City of Brotherly Love as preseason sleeper favorites Adam Conley and Jerad Eickhoff square off. Actually, the duo may have been unknown to many seasonal players but DFS enthusiasts were well aware of what they did late last season. Each has flashed stretches of similar success early on, but they've also exhibited the inconsistency experienced by most young hurlers. Conley has been more dominant, boasting a 9.4 K/9 as compared to Eickhoff's 7.8. However, Eickhoff has been sharper, as evidenced by his 1.8 BB/9 besting Conley's 3.7 level. In terms of matchup, Conley is in a much better spot, as he'll tangle with a Philadelphia Phillies attack that checks in with a low .279 wOBA in tandem with a high 24 percent strikeout rate against lefties. In contrast, Eickhoff has to contain a Miami Marlins club that carries a .335 wOBA and less generous 18 percent whiff rate versus right-handers. Despite the road affair, Conley is the better choice in the daily format.
Kenta Maeda opened the campaign allowing just three runs in his first three outings. In the next three, he surrendered 10 runs. The primary reason is the long ball, though the righty's control has been spotty as well. The Los Angeles Dodgers' import is in a favorable scenario to get back on track in an interleague tussle with their inner-city rivals as the Los Angeles Angels hop in their vehicles for a road affair in Dodger Stadium. The already low-scoring Halos will be devoid of their designated hitter, further improving the situation for Maeda.
Rick Porcello continues to make believers out of naysayers with his consistency. The Boston Red Sox right-hander has hurled at least six frames in all six of his outings, striking out no fewer than five while walking no more than two in any appearance. Next up is a trip to Kauffman Stadium to battle with the Kansas City Royals. The largely right-handed lineup gives Porcello the platform to keep his momentum going. Rain is forecasted for the Kansas City area, so have a pivot in mind if you're inclined to use Porcello in DFS.
The Ray Searage effect has to yet to manifest for Jonathon Niese, as he's really sputtered out of the gate. The Pittsburgh Pirates welcome the Atlanta Braves into PNC Park, which affords Niese the platform to right the ship. The travelers bring a league-low .238 wOBA and generous 26 percent strikeout rate into the Steel City.
Cody Anderson has watched eight of his offerings leave the yard over his 28.1 innings. While bloated numbers like this aren't completely bad luck, a reversion to career norms is likely. With the Cincinnati Reds visiting Progressive Field, the Cleveland Indians right-hander is in play for those that like to be aggressive early in their head-to-head week. The visitors are countering with rookie John Lamb, so the Tribe should offer Anderson run support.
Robbie Ray has pitched into the fifth inning only once in his past four outings, mostly because of racking up a ton of pitches. Carrying a 10.4 K/9 and 4.8 BB/9 will do that. Ray has the visiting New York Yankees on his docket, benefiting from enjoying the platoon edge against Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner as well as the lack of a designated hitter. As a team, the Yankees sport a well below average home run rate against southpaws, yielding another reason to play Ray.
Even though Sean Manaea will be working in the pitcher-friendly confines of O.Co Coliseum, he's a risk as the Oakland Athletics open a set with the Texas Rangers. The visitors are seventh in the league, averaging 4.6 runs a game.
Yordano Ventura has walked more hitters than he has fanned so far this season. The last thing you want to do is give the Boston Red Sox more baserunners.
Williams Perez held the Philadelphia Phillies to just two hits with one run over eight stanzas last time out. Next up are the Pittsburgh Pirates in PNC Park. Expect markedly different results this time.
Derek Holland's last two starts have been an aggregate five innings, with 19 hits and 15 runs. I rest my case.
The scoreboard operator in Oakland usually has an easy job. However, on Monday night hazard pay may be necessary. The Oakland Athletics right-handed contingent will line up to face Texas Rangers southpaw Derek Holland. Switch-hitters Coco Crisp and Billy Burns will set the table for Danny Valencia (fresh off of his three-homer explosion), Khris Davis, Billy Butler and Marcus Semien with Josh Phegley in the mix if he's able to play. Otherwise, Matt McBride is a sleeper option at catcher. For the visitors, their righty swingers are in a good spot to do some damage against Sean Manaea. Ian Desmond has been bumped to the two-hole with Adrian Beltre in his familiar cleanup role.
The Cleveland Indians haven't faced a left-handed starter since April 29, so the lineup is in question with southpaw John Lamb on the hill for the visiting Cincinnati Reds. Switch-hitters Carlos Santana and Francisco Lindor are almost assuredly destined for the leadoff and third with Mike Napoli the likely cleanup man. Yan Gomes is an option at catcher with Juan Uribe in the picture too.
As a team, the Pittsburgh Pirates sport an impressive .340 wOBA against right-handers, despite featuring just Gregory Polanco and John Jaso swinging from the left-side, and Jaso has been sitting with a righty on the hill lately. This makes the Bucs an under-the-radar spot for sticks facing Williams Perez. Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte, Jung Ho Kang and David Freese (or Jaso) compose an intriguing contrarian stack.
Most likely to hit a home run: Khris Davis has the distinction of being the first member of the Oakland Athletics to make this space, hitting fourth against Derek Holland.
Most likely to steal a base: There's no one that really stands out so we're going off the board with Mookie Betts. It's not that Betts isn't a base-stealer, as he has eight; the call is curious as Yordano Ventura is very hard to run against, as only three bags have been swiped with him on the mound since 2014. We're banking on Ventura's wildness to put the Red Sox leadoff hitter on, then the overall team confidence that's on display from Boston.