The weekend is here. As usual, Saturday brings us a full schedule of games, though the slate is split with eight games qualifying for the early slate and seven being reserved for the evening. The day's top two options are pitching late, but there are still quality options to be had early. Of course, you can always play the all-day slate and have the full assortment of options available. Either way, it'll be an interesting day for DFS players.
There's no way around it: Madison Bumgarner is the no-brainer No. 1 option in cash on Saturday. Not only is the Giants ace sporting a career-best 10.2 K/9 to go along with a 1.85 ERA that ranks third-best in baseball, but he also gets a Phillies squad that's the worst in the majors against lefty pitching, with a 57 wRC+ and 24 percent strikeout rate. It's a match made in DFS heaven. Lock it in.
Jacob deGrom also finds himself in an enticing spot, facing a Braves team that boasts a 77 wRC+ versus righty pitching this season. While the Braves do a pretty good job making contact, it's worth noting that deGrom has seen his whiff rate surge of late. After sporting a 5.8 K/9 over his first six starts this season, his K/9 rate has spiked to 11.7 over his last six outings. DeGrom plays second fiddle to Bumgarner on Saturday, but the Mets righty should deliver the goods.
Rounding out the top tier is Carlos Carrasco, who has a tough draw with a road tilt against Detroit. The Tigers have raked against right-handed pitching this season, ranking fourth in the AL with a .335 wOBA. Carrasco is matchup proof when he's on, but he's battled homer issues this season and he's not missing the same number of bats he has in the past (8.0 K/9). It's hard to justify the cost when there are better options on the board. Granted, if you're playing the early slate only, Carrasco becomes a little more interesting.
Drew Pomeranz has sputtered a bit of late, holding a 5.46 ERA over his last five starts, but Saturday's matchup against the Reds presents him with a good opportunity to right the ship. Going from Petco Park to Great American Ballpark is a big downgrade for the left-hander. However, he gets to face a Reds lineup that's below average versus lefty pitching and has whiffed at a 24 percent clip in June, something Pomeranz and his 10.7 K/9 should be able to exploit.
Julio Teheran is on a roll. After stumbling out of the gates with a 4.60 ERA in April, he's posted a 1.83 ERA since. There's little reason to think he won't keep the train moving against the Mets, who have been below average against right-handed pitching and are striking out at a healthy 23.3 percent clip. Although he's managed just one double-digit strikeout game this season, he's whiffed seven or more in five of his last six starts, which gives him a nice floor in cash games.
John Lackey just continues to get it done start after start after start. He's now registered quality starts in 10 straight outings. So not only does he carry a nice floor, but he's also whiffing 9.3 batters per nine innings, his highest strikeout rate since, well, ever, so he has a nice ceiling, too. Don't expect a high strikeout total against a Marlins team that's striking out just 19 percent of the time versus righties. Then again, Miami is also below average against righty pitching and sports the second-lowest ISO in the National League (.137), so don't expect much offense, either. Lackey is one of the day's safest plays.
There's reason to be cautious with Gio Gonzalez, who has been somewhat of a mess lately. After posting a 1.42 ERA in April, he held a 5.23 ERA in May and is dealing with a 5.84 mark so far in June. Still, Gonzalez is whiffing a batter per inning and is facing a Brewers team that's striking out at a 24 percent clip versus southpaws, so there's some GPP appeal here.
There's plenty of risk with Michael Pineda (see the 5.82 ERA), but there's nice upside, too. Despite some blowup risk, the right-hander has allowed more than three earned runs just once in his last six starts. He also owns a 10.2 K/9 rate, which will come in handy against a Twins team that struggles against righty pitching (89 wRC+) and strikes out 22.4 percent of the time. Pineda is available in 55 percent of leagues.
Kevin Gausman has struggled of late, but his matchup against Tampa Bay on Saturday, which is part of a doubleheader, is prime. Not only are the Rays punchless against right-handed pitching, but they strike out at a bloated 25.3 percent clip. Gausman, whose ESPN.com ownership percentage sits at just 24 percent, should find plenty of success in this one.
Jhoulys Chacin's fantasy value this season has been spotty, at best. That said, he's in a terrific spot on Saturday, squaring off against an A's team that's worst the AL versus right-handed pitching (83 wRC+). They don't strike out much -- but that's not Chacin's game, anyway. He's a fine streamer and is ripe for the picking in 97 percent of leagues.
Nate Karns gets a solid 55 game score for his home start against St. Louis, but that feels awfully generous. The Cardinals own a 119 wRC+ versus right-handed pitching this season, which is tied with Boston for the best mark in baseball. That's red flag No. 1. Red flag No. 2 is the fact that Karns has been blasted by right-handed hitters this season (.374 wOBA), and the Cards' lineup is stacked with righties. Finally, the fact Karns owns a 7.36 ERA in June and has yet to pitch past the fifth inning is red flag No. 3. Saturday is not the time to roll the dice on the Seattle right-hander.
Anibal Sanchez toes the hill for the Tigers on Saturday. He's been tattooed by right-handed bats this season (.391 wOBA), but lefty hitters have also gotten to him (.357 wOBA). With the Indians on the docket, lefty bat Jason Kipnis and switch-hitters Carlos Santana and Francisco Lindor are all interesting options.
Also consider Mike Napoli, who has hit 12 of his 15 homers this year off righties.
Paul Clemens is set to make his second start of the season, and the 28-year-old journeyman with a 5.50 career ERA doesn't match up well with the Cubs, who are second in the NL in runs scored and lead the majors in walk rate. Over 100-plus big league innings, both right- and left-handed batters have hit him hard. All Cubs hitters are in play here.
Jorge De La Rosa is a popular target in this space, especially when he's at Coors Field, which is the case on Sunday. The left-hander has surrendered a .415 wOBA to right-handed batters this season, and there are multiple Arizona bats that make for prime plays: Paul Goldschmidt, Jean Segura and Welington Castillo are top options, while the free-swinging Peter O'Brien makes for a great tournament play.
The Dodgers head to Pittsburgh to face off against lefty Jeff Locke. Locke owns a 5.44 ERA on the season, an 8.46 mark in June and he's surrendered a .367 wOBA to right-handed bats. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to stack some right-handed Dodgers hitters.
Most likely to go yard: Paul Goldschmidt
Jorge De La Rosa has allowed eight homers to right-handed hitters in just 29 2/3 innings this season, and Saturday finds him once again starting at Coors Field, where he has a 5.06 ERA this season. My money is on Goldschmidt taking advantage.
Most likely to swipe a bag: Melvin Upton Jr.
Anibal Sanchez has already allowed 13 stolen bases this season, the second-most in the American League. Lindor will also be looking to burn some rubber if he reaches base.