Here we are on the final day of Fantasy Rounders, with only three days of regular season left to paint the bankroll black on DFS for 2015.
One quick note before we get to today's rundown: be wary of double-headers. If any games are rained out today or tomorrow then MLB will scramble to complete the schedule by the end of Sunday, and those double-dips present a few challenges. For starters, most of the contests on DraftKings will include just the second game of the double-header, which will almost certainly be part of the slate of games that start after 7:00pm EST. Second, rostering any players from the second game is inherently risky because rosters are announced very late in the cycle, and in some cases game one will still be going as the official start time of game two approaches; when this happens, players will be locked before we know whether they are in the lineup for game two. Lastly, teams that are in clinch mode are more likely to sit their starters in game two of a double-header, particularly if game one involved said clinching. All of these elements came to a head on Wednesday, as the Blue Jays clinched the AL East with a win over the Yankees in game one of their double-header, which went later than the planned 7:05pm start of game two, and Toronto benched just about everybody for that second game. As a result, anyone who rostered the formidable Blue Jay bats on Wednesday was summarily disappointed.
Now on to today's slate!
Target: RHB's Evan Longoria 3B ($3700, +122 OPS and +.048 ISO vs. LHP), Logan Forsythe 1B/2B ($3500, +192 OPS and +.109 ISO vs. LHP), Steven Souza OF ($3500, +142 OPS and +.069 ISO vs. LHP) and Brandon Guyer OF ($2900, +150 OPS and +.089 ISO vs. LHP) against LHP Mark Buehrle ($6400, +12 OPS and -.013 ISO vs. RHB)
The platoon splits of Mark Buehrle are negligible, as the 16-year veteran has had ample time for the numbers to stabilize, and his splits this season actually favor left-handed bats. This recommendation is all about the bats of the Rays, who have had much more success against left-handers this season than they have against righties, including a difference of 53 points of OPS and .031 ISO. If Longoria plays all three games this weekend then he will have three consecutive campaigns of at least 160 games played, helping to shed the injury-prone label that had dogged him earlier in his career, but the 29-year old has failed to keep up the same rate of production that he had managed in his mid-twenties. Forsythe is in the middle of a breakout campaign in which he has set career highs in in virtually every category, whether it be a counting stat or a rate stat. He has done most of his work against southpaws despite a limited sample, mashing 10 of his 17 homers and 28 of his 52 extra-base hits overall even though his plate appearances against lefties represent just 31.3 percent of his total. However, Forsythe has missed the last four games with a bruised foot and could be sitting out again for tonight's contest. Souza was on fire to start the season before tumbling over the summer, and a DL stint kept him from enacting revenge during the dog days. He has hit ok since his mid-September return but has lacked power, slashing .293/.400/.414 in 19 games (70 plate appearances) since coming back to the Rays' lineup. Guyer has been batting leadoff for the Rays when an opposing lefty is on the mound, and he has more than held his own with a .267/.355/.417 line on the year. He is on a tear ove rthe last two weeks, qualifying under the recency bias tag, with a .357/.438/.714 line with five extra-base hits in his last nine games (eight starts). The friendly price tags that are attached to the Tampa bats encourages their employment on your DFS roster tonight.
The Cubs' opponents earn the steal recommendation for the second time in a row, as the duo of Arrieta and Jon Lester have given up more combined steals this season than any other duo in the game (70 total thefts in 87 attempts). This time around it's the Brewers who benefit on the basepaths, but of course the Brewer batters have to get on base before they can attempt a steal, and Arrieta has absolutely shutdown offenses for the past two months. Segura is the only real threat with Ryan Braun shutdown for the season, and the weak-hitting middle infielder will no doubt try to scratch an extra base via the steal should he find his way onto the basepaths against Arrieta.
Target: Delino DeShields OF ($4000, 24-of-31 SB this season) and Elvis Andrus SS ($3500, 23-of-31 SB this season) against RHP Jered Weaver ($5000, opponents 19-of-28 SB this season)
Opponents haven't stolen quite as many bags off of Weaver this season than they have Arrieta, and the success rate is also less inviting, but the sheer volume difference is somewhat accounted for with the 70 fewer innings that Weaver has thrown this season. The Angel right-hander also features the opposite scenario as Arrieta, as Weaver has been extremely hittable this season as his unorthodox delivery has been unable to cover for a fastball that has drifted into the mid-80's in terms of velocity. Weaver is a much better pitcher at home, so today's game in Arlington should provide ample opportunity for the Rangers' base thieves to take off running. DeShields has a 100-steal season on his minor-league resume and possesses the bloodlines to encourage several years of getting on base and stealing bags; he was a jackrabbit on the basepaths when first called up but has been quieter recently, with just two steals in four attempts over his last 30 games. Andrus is about to post his third straight season with a sub-670 OPS, fading what was once a promising career, but he is doing his best to salvage the season on the bases with 12 steals in 14 attempts over his last 34 games played. Given the lighter salary and the more difficult position, Andrus is the superior pick if choosing just one Ranger to run on Weaver tonight.
Last 15 games (15 starts): .390/.446/.932 with 17 extra-base hits and 28 RuBI in 65 plate appearances
Carpenter has been frustratingly streaky this season, but he is currently on one of his good runs, mashing opponents and adding seven homers, nine doubles, and a triple to his extra-base counts for the season (he's even chipped in a stolen base). He has six extra-base hits over his last four games and has hit 25-percent of his season total for homers within the 15-game sample that is under the microscope. He'll carry the platoon advantage tonight against Teheran, allowing Carpenter to exploit an extra 84 points of OPS for his career (174 points in 2015), and Teheran's own penchant for coughing up the longball should work further in Carpenter's favor.
Severino has been more than solid this season, but the low K count of recent games and his unproven track record are marks against him (as is his tendency for shorter outings), and Severino's early-career success is hardly enough to justify the discount tonight on Machado. The young Oriole has seen his price tag drop in recent days, but with three homers in his last two contests there is hardly the justification via recency bias to dampen his value. Machado is in the midst of a breakout season, having put the multiple knee surgeries behind him and becoming one of the great up-and-coming stars of the American League. The trio of bombs have put him at 33 taters for the season in addition to 30 doubles, as the 22-year old is showing that sometimes the two-baggers of youth (he hit 51 doubles in his rookie campaign) sometimes do morph into homers.
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