If you're hoping to make up ground in pitching on the last day of most standard head-to-head leagues, good luck, as there's likely to be a lot of slugfests on Sunday. In terms of DFS, there are some attractive arms to anchor your lineup.
As always on Sunday, pay extra attention to the lineups as they're announced, especially since teams may opt to sit some regulars as the temperatures remain above average for this time of the season.
If somebody would have said at the beginning of the season that, on June 11, a Chicago Cubs pitcher would be sporting a 2.06 ERA and 0.97 WHIP, supported by an 8.9 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9, you'd assume Jake Arrieta is having an excellent follow-up to his Cy Young campaign. You'd also be wrong, as those numbers belong to Jon Lester.
The veteran southpaw is in a great spot to continue his sparkling season at Turner Field against the Atlanta Braves, owner of the league's worst weighted on base average (wOBA) versus lefties -- a lowly 0.264. Not only is Lester the best DFS cash option on the slate, the hosts' 23 percent strikeout rate against left-handers puts him in the mix for GPP action as well.
After tossing at least six frames in his seven previous outings, Steven Matz has pitched fewer than six in his last two starts. That said, he hasn't pitched too poorly lately, fanning 11 with four walks in those 10 2/3 innings; a few extra hits and high pitch counts resulted in an early shower for the 25-year old southpaw in his last two times out. Look for Matz to hang around a little longer as he takes the hill at Miller Park to face the Milwaukee Brewers, who carry an average wOBA versus southpaws, but strike out at an above-average clip against lefties.
Dallas Keuchel's disappointing season continues, but if you're looking for a silver lining, the early season control issues are no longer plaguing the Houston Astros' lefty; he has issued only a pair of free passes over his past four outings, covering a span of 26 1/3 innings. On the other hand, he has hit two batters, thrown three wild pitches and surrendered four homers in that time. Sunday's foe, the Tampa Bay Rays, hit southpaws well, as evidenced by a hefty 0.344 wOBA under these conditions, but the game is in pitcher-friendly Tropicana Field and the home team fans at a 24 percent clip against left-handers. Last season Keuchel usually profiled as a cash game staple; now, he's a contrarian GPP option.
Despite an eye-pleasing 2.92 ERA, Joe Ross has taken a slight step back from his rookie campaign, whiffing slightly fewer batters on average while walking a few more than he did last season; his 3.71 FIP and 4.20 xFIP are an indication of his slide. The sophomore right-hander has a favorable matchup to end the week as the Philadelphia Phillies wrap up a series at Nationals Park. The guests tote a weak 0.292 wOBA against right-handers, in tandem with an above-average 22 percent strikeout rate. This combo very much puts Ross in play for cash games, as well as making him a tourney option (albeit without the upside as some other candidates).
Sixteen of the 40 scheduled starters meet our requirements for streaming consideration by registering a projected game score between 46 and 52. Let's pick out the better options, leaning toward those available in more than half of all ESPN leagues.
Jake Peavy is owned at only a 3 percent rate in ESPN fantasy baseball leagues, which is a little light, considering the fact that he has a favorable matchup at AT&T Park as the San Francisco Giants close out a set with their long-time rivals from down the coast, the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Southern California side of that equation has a below average wOBA against righties, along with an above average strikeout rate.
Yordano Ventura is appealing his nine-game suspension for plunking Manny Machado with a 99-mph heater, so he'll take the hill at U.S. Cellular Field against a scuffling Chicago White Sox offense. If you're looking for a win and a handful of strikeouts. Ventura is in play; if your ratios are in jeopardy, it's best to look elsewhere.
Perhaps this call is clouded by some personal bias, but Adam Conley is in my lineup, despite being tasked with a road tilt in the desert against an Arizona Diamondbacks club that hits lefties to the tune of a 0.353 wOBA. Still, the Miami Marlins southpaw is in play if you need whiffs. After failing to fan more than five in four straight starts, Conley has whiffed 17 over his last two outings.
Speaking of strikeouts, Conley's mound foe, the D-backs' Robbie Ray and his 10.6 K/9, face a Fish squad that strikes out at an elevated 23 percent clip versus lefties.
Zach Davies may look like a teenager, but the 23-year old righty is displaying growing maturity on the hill, coming off outings where he tossed eight and seven innings. The Milwaukee Brewers rookie and his 19 percent ESPN ownership is in play against the New York Mets at Miller Park.
Matt Moore is hard to figure out. He passes the eye test in terms of stuff, and his 8.1 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 are better than league average, but a 1.8 HR/9 has been his Achilles heel. There's some risk, as the Houston Astros have excellent power, but they also fan a lot, so the Tampa Bay lefty is in play for an affair in homer-suppressing Tropicana Field.
Wade Miley hasn't pitched quite as poorly as his 5.27 ERA suggests, as his 4.80 FIP and 4.51 xFIP point towards a little bad luck. Granted, a mid-fours ERA is nothing to e-mail home about, but a date at Safeco Field with the Seattle Mariners lefty makes him an option to use against a Texas Rangers club whose best hitters are left-handed and probably will be without Adrian Beltre.
The final featured streaming option is John Lamb, who's owned in only 2 percent of ESPN leagues. There's a reason for that, as the rookie southpaw has struggled, but if you're chasing wins, the Cincinnati Reds should be able to get to Oakland Athletics righty Kendall Graveman at the Great American Ballpark.
The list is rather lengthy, as there are five automatic sits with a projected game score 45 or below. Joining that quintet are Pat Dean, who's facing the league's top offense as the Minnesota Twins and Boston Red Sox wrap up their weekend set at Target Field, along with Ubaldo Jimenez, who's too risky to deploy at Rogers Centre in an American League East tussle between the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays.
To some, Sunday stacks refer to a pancake brunch. For fantasy baseball enthusiasts, it means teams in a great spot -- and we have six that could lead off any other day. Let's get the obvious one out of the way, as the San Diego Padres and Colorado Rockies close out a set in Coors Field. The home team sends right-hander Eddie Butler to the hill, giving leadoff hitter Jon Jay the platoon advantage, but don't hesitate to use Wil Myers or Matt Kemp. The visitors hand the ball to lefty Christian Friedrich, putting righty-swinging Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story and Ryan Raburn in the driver's seat.
If you're waffling and opt to fade Coors, your target is in Minnesota as the Boston Red Sox should school Twins lefty Pat Dean. Mookie Betts, Dustin Pedroia and the red-hot Xander Bogaerts lead the way.
Atlanta Braves righty John Gant will be summoned from the bullpen to try to tame the Chicago Cubs at Turner Field. Gant was recently starting at Triple-A Gwinnett, so he's more stretched out than a typical reliever, but that being said, the Cubs aren't the typical offense; look for lefties Jason Heyward, Anthony Rizzo, Chris Coghlan and Miguel Montero to take advantage.
Philadelphia Phillies lefty Adam Morgan and his 6.70 ERA will toe the rubber at Nationals Park. This renders the right-handed contingent of the Washington Nationals as solid options, beginning with Chris Heisey and Jayson Werth, who were at the top of the order the last time the Nats faced a southpaw. Joining the duo are Ryan Zimmerman, Wilson Ramos and Anthony Rendon.
Last, but not least, are the Cincinnati Reds, who square off with Kendall Graveman and the Oakland Athletics. Lefties Joey Votto and Jay Bruce are the chief beneficiaries, with Zack Cozart, Brandon Phillips and Eugenio Suarez in the mix too.
Most likely to go yard: It may be more of a challenge to find someone that won't. Jay Bruce is in one of his power grooves, and even though my colleague Mike Sheets chose, and hit with, the Reds' veteran, let's go to that well again.
Most likely to swipe a bag: Just a hunch that Billy Burns gives Coco Crisp the day off from leading off, and does some running against a Cincinnati club that doesn't defend the running game all that well.