Despite a wide array of aces taking to the mound on Sunday, one team has a can't-miss hitting matchup against a pitcher with an ERA north of 10.00. Find out how every team's hitters and pitchers match up in our daily fantasy forecaster.
New York Mets righty Noah Syndergaard kicks off the Sunday slate as he has a juicy match-up, ranking him higher than a pair of hurlers drafted sooner in seasonal formats. Syndergaard's skills put him in the mix regardless of opponent, but when he's facing a club that fans at a 27 percent clip against right-handers, Thor is looking at his second straight double-digit strikeout performance and third of the campaign. The visiting Milwaukee Brewers have hit right-handers well, but most of that damage has been in Miller Park. With the tilt in Citi Field, Syndergaard is the clear leader of the Sunday pack.
Lost in Max Scherzer's recent strikeout heroics is serving up 13 homers in just 58 1/3 innings, including eight over his previous three outings. Next up for the Washington Nationals 31-year old veteran are the Miami Marlins as the clubs wrap up a weekend set in South Beach. The home team sports the tenth lowest home run percentage versus right-handers. Beware, however, the Fish are also the ninth stingiest in the league with respect to strikeouts versus right-handers.
Madison Bumgarner rounds out the elite as the San Francisco Giants entertain the Chicago. The southpaw's control has been spottier than normal but his 10.9 K/9 is mitigating the damage. For the season, the guests are pounding left-handers to the tune of a 0.355 weighted on base average however over the past two weeks, that mark drops to a weak 0.284 with a 24 percent strikeout rate. Clubs can snap out of funks any time so there's some risk, but in the comfort of AT&T Park, Bumgarner is a viable alternative to Syndergaard.
Confession time: the next two hurlers' projected Games Scores were originally 60, putting them in the elite tier. However, for different reasons, they were overridden as neither really deserves that status for DFS. The first is Los Angeles Dodgers righty Kenta Maeda, whose score is buoyed by a rosy matchup in Petco Park against the offensively-challenged San Diego Padres. On paper Maeda is in a great spot as the Friars whiff at a 25 percent pace versus right-handers. The sole hitch is he's averaging fewer than six innings a start, which quite frankly isn't elite-worthy. Sure, because of the favorable opponent Maeda will likely hurl at least six frames, but a true elite arm would be expected to toss at least seven in this scenario, a feat Maeda's accomplished only once in his eight efforts.
Cole Hamels is the other elite-wannabe. Like Maeda, his projected Game Score is inflated by his opponent's high strikeout pace as the Houston Astros whiff 26 percent of the time against southpaws. The problem is Hamels has allowed five homers over his last two outings, fueling an uncharacteristic 1.6 HR/9 for the season. Since the affair will be contested in homer-friendly Minute Maid Park, the hosts have too much power potential for the homer-prone Hamels to be deemed an elite option. However, the strikeout upside renders the lefty a perfect GPP play.
Generally, Marcus Stroman profiles better for DFS cash than tournament action since his strength is consistency and control. But, with the strikeout-prone Minnesota Twins on the docket, Stroman doubles as a GPP candidate.
Like his teammate Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda sports strong peripherals save for a high home run rate. The New York Yankees and the Oakland Athletics close out a set in cavernous O. co Coliseum which aided Tanaka in yesterday's outing. Pineda is in a good spot to do the same, plus add a few more punch outs. Plus, because Pineda's 6.60 ERA drives down his price tag, Pineda is more cost-efficient than Tanaka. It all adds up to Pineda being in the mix for GPP play.
You hear all the time how baseball is a game of adjustments. Dating back to last season, Jerad Eickhoff was enjoying success using just two pitches but the league has adjusted. Now he's adding a slider to his fastball-curveball combination, giving hitters another pitch to think about especially since he throws it a at a speed in between his two chief offerings. The Atlanta Braves, who knocked Eickhoff out of their May 11 encounter after just 4 1/3 frames, get another crack at the Philadelphia Phillies righty, this time in the City of Brotherly Love. Expect Eickhoff to stick around longer this time.
Our usual Sunday disclaimer trumps conventional analysis as the head-to-head week comes to a close. If you're not going to win without taking a chance, go for it. With that in mind, here are the better spot-starters on the Sunday slate, all with less than 50 percent ownership in ESPN leagues. Unfortunately, the pickings are slim.
Colin Rea is another righty with a strong home matchup as the San Diego Padres host the Los Angeles Dodgers in Petco Park. Rea's ownership is a mere five percent in ESPN formats.
The Toronto Blue Jays offense is warming up so there's some risk. But, with the affair in Target Field, Minnesota Twins Phil Hughes and his ten percent ownership is borderline but viable if you need a last minute boost.
The rest are borderline. If you have a question on a hurler that's not listed, hit me up on Twitter at @ToddZola.
Your situation dictates the level of risk you can incur. Here are the scariest options on the card.
Jesse Hahn's control is still coming around. Even in The Coliseum, Hahn is a risk against a New York Yankees club that can send up a parade of lefties and switch-hitters.
A pitcher sporting a 10.34 K/9 and 2.11 BB/9 would be called Ace. If those are your ERA and WHIP, you're called Alfredo Simon. The Seattle Mariners are next up for Simon, putting lefties Robinson Cano, Adam Lind, Seth Smith and Kyle Seager in prime spots. With Nori Aoki scuffling, Ketel Marte has been leading off and Nelson Cruz is always a threat but could sit in an NL park.
The oft-injured Casey Kelly making his first start of the season giving the rare chance to use Philadelphia Phillies sticks. Odubel Herrera is quietly having an All-Star type season with Ryan Howard and Maikel Franco the most likely to take one out of Citizens Bank Park. Cesar Hernandez and Freddy Galvis are intriguing, and cheap, up-the-middle options.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have a grinding lineup that features only three lefties with the platoon edge over Chad Bettis. Mayy Joyce, John Jaso and Gregory Polanco thus top the list however don't sleep on Starling Marte, Jung Ho Kang and of course, Andrew McCutchen.
Sometimes using a mini-stack with just two hitters is effective. A couple of spots to look are Colorado Rockies lefties Charlie Blackmon and Carlos Gonzalez facing Juan Nicasio and another left-handed duo, Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis challenging Jerad Eickhoff.
Most likely to hit a home run: There may not be a bigger no-brainer in this space than Chris Davis facing Jared Weaver. Actually, there is one, if the two met in Camden Yards but even in Angels Stadium, Crush is the favorite.
Most likely to steal a base: Charlie Blackmon is beginning to get things in gear, it's high time he started running again too.