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The Wheelhouse: Back on the Cole Train?

Derek VanRiper

Derek is the Director of Media for RotoWire.com, where he's been a two-time finalist for the FSWA's Baseball Writer of the Year award, and winner of the Best Football Article on the Web (2009) and Best Baseball Article on the Web (2010) awards. Derek also co-hosts RotoWire's shows on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (XM 87, Sirius 210).

The Weather

Several games have rain in the forecast for Tuesday night (a full weather report can be viewed here). From that batch, no postponements are expected as of 5p ET.

Hot temperatures and humid conditions throughout most of the country should drive offense production by way of the long ball, so expect massive scores atop the GPP leaderboards.

The Parks & Vegas Info



Even without a Coors Game, the high over/under on the board checks in at 11 on Tuesday thanks to the Christian Bergman/Kyle Gibson matchup at Target Field. The Orioles-White Sox matchup in Chicago (Alec Asher v. Derek Holland) and Braves-Nats game in D.C. (R.A. Dickey v. Joe Ross) are also in double digits at 10.5 and 10, respectively.

Only two contests are below 8, including Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer in Cleveland (7.5) and Jason Vargas against Ty Blach in San Francisco (7.5).

In addition to the favorable pitching conditions at AT&T Park, the Royals and Giants possess the two weakest offenses on the board tonight when accounting for the handedness of each team’s starting pitcher. Unfortunately, Blach’s limited ability to miss bats (11.2% K%, second-worst among the 29 starters with an MLB appearance in the past calendar year) removes most of his upside in tournaments.

The Arms



(Note: The Overall Skills Table compiles stats from the past calendar year.)

Split Skills



(Note: All Stats in the Split Skills Table are compiled since the start of the 2016 season.)

It’s Kershaw Day, as the attire of RotoWire’s Jake Letarski confirms. The Indians have a wRC+ of 86 against southpaws this season, and while they haven’t struck out much as a team, Kershaw has the highest K% of the starters in play Tuesday (28.5% K% over the past calendar year).

As cash alternatives go...

Zack Greinke squares off against a Detroit offense that has been a small tick better than league average against righties thus far. He’s priced more fairly on FanDuel than on DraftKings, with a price topping $12,000 on the latter. Even though Greinke has pitched very well throughout 2017, the Tigers’ lineup still looks like a sleeping giant.

David Price will make his first start of the season at Fenway, drawing the increasingly competent Phillies. Most of Price’s issue through three turns in the rotation has come with keeping the ball in the park, but that stretch has included stops at the park formerly known as The Cell, Camden Yards, and Yankee Stadium. Even with the recent surges from Tommy Joseph and Odubel Herrera, the Phillies have an 85 wRC+ against lefties with a 20 percent K%.

For tournaments…

As noted above, the Giants’ woes against lefties make them the most cushy matchup on the board tonight. Jason Vargas has slightly less strikeout potential than some of the other GPP considerations (Brad Peacock, Marco Gonzales, Buck Farmer), but he has a much higher floor in that setup.

Gerrit Cole has been in a funk for the last four starts, failing to go more than five innings in each of those outings, while allowing 23 earned runs in 19.1 innings during that span. As a team, the Rockies boost strikeouts for right-handed pitchers, and with Cole at home, it makes sense to view Tuesday’s matchup as a great spot for him to turn things around.

Zack Wheeler is on the other side of the Jon Lester matchup at Citi Field. In a year when so many things have gone wrong for the Mets, Wheeler’s success stands out as a rare positive. Walks have been a problem for Wheeler at times, but the Cubs’ offense has posted a mediocre 86 wRC+ against righties through the first two-plus months of the season.

Jacob Faria capably handled the White Sox in his MLB debut last week, but he draws a more difficult assignment in his second turn against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on Tuesday. On FanDuel in particular, Faria has big-field GPP appeal thanks to his $5,500 price tag and the flexibility afforded to load up on high-end bats up and down the lineup (think Astros against Nick Martinez and Yankees against J.C. Ramirez).

The Bats

Last Tuesday, I did not have Scooter Gennett as a recommendation in this space on the day of his four-homer game, but hopefully you found that value on your own as a lineup filler at second base. On example on the Tuesday slate this week is Wilmer Flores.

Flores is hitting second for the Mets, he’s $2,700 on FanDuel, $3,100 on DraftKings, and he’s matched up against a lefty (Jon Lester) in a park that boost right-handed home runs by nearly 20 percent. It would hardly be surprising to see Flores reach double-digit ownership in many formats on both sites tonight, with his track record against southpaws (.358/.392/.694 since the start of last season) common knowledge in the DFS community at this point.

There is an aspect to lineup building that generally includes finding cheap pieces with a prominent place in a batting order, with a good matchup, and/or in a good hitter’s park. The core recommendations here are building blocks, where multiple factors -- price, splits, park, matchups -- are favorable.

Mariners v. Kyle Gibson

Lefties and righties have mashed against Gibson, though Target Field is more favorable for righties.

Mitch Haniger had a big night in his return to the lineup Monday, and stacking him with Robinson Cano, Nelson Cruz, and Kyle Seager is feasible on both sites, but a complete cake walk on FanDuel at a combined $13,700 to fill four spots. Those four Mariners paired with Gerrit Cole leaves an average of $3,300 to fill catcher, first base, shortstop, and one outfield spot, and that foundation might be very popular in tournaments.

If the M’s stack is too chalky for your palate, consider Ben Gamel ($2,900 FD/$3,500 DK) from the leadoff spot.

The added benefit of using Seattle bats in the matchup against Gibson is the potential for plate appearances Twins’ league-worst bullpen (5.55 ERA).

Twins v. Christian Bergman

Like Gibson, Bergman has been generous to hitters on both sides of the dish.

Unfortunately, the Twins possess a lineup that isn’t as fun to stack with a light-hitting first baseman in Joe Mauer occupying the No. 2 hole. Brian Dozier is leading off again, though his price has been ticking up in recent days and he’s now $3,800 on FanDuel ($4,600 on DraftKings). Max Kepler might be a better one-off consideration at $3,200 FD/$3,600 DK from the cleanup spot.

Nats v. R.A. Dickey

Another low-end starter taking the mound Tuesday, Dickey has also been hit hard by hitters from both sides. The ball was carrying much more than usual in Monday’s series opener between the Braves and Nats, and there’s little reason to expect that to change with similar conditions at Nationals Park tonight. Bargain options include Ryan Raburn (hitting second, $2,000 on DraftKings) and Matt Wieters (seventh, $2,400 FD/$3,000 DK), but the big guns should all be in play (Trea Turner, Bryce Harper, Ryan Zimmerman, and Anthony Rendon) as one-offs since stacking is cost prohibitive.

Reds v. Clayton Richard

Petco is still a wet blanket for left-handed power, and Richard has been excellent at limiting the damage from lefties, but his K%, BB%, and wOBA against righties leaves plenty to be desired. Devin Mesoraco (if he starts) is the only cheap right-handed bat for the Reds on either of the two big DFS sites, but Zack Cosart, Adam Duvall, and Eugenio Suarez are considerations to fill spots Tuesday. Patrick Kivlehan (if he gets a spot start) is a potential punt play.

Orioles v. Derek Holland

Most of Holland’s early 2017 success has been tied to his ability to handle lefties. His matchups against righties have been a completely different story, however, as he’s posted a meager 6.2% K-BB%, 1.76 HR/9, and .360 wOBA against righties since the start of last season. The Orioles have nine righties in their lineup tonight, leaving options at all price points for those looking to get exposure to the Dutch Oven.

If I had to choose one Baltimore bat, Adam Jones ($2,900 FD/$3,600 DK) is at the top of the list, but two and three-man Oriole stacks are in play, even with Manny Machado’s recent wrist ailment hampering his production.

Odds & Ends

Yankees and Astros bats are great as per usual Tuesday against J.C. Ramirez and Nick Martinez, respectively. Prices, however, may steer you to limited exposure depending on how you handle your pitcher spots.

A Justin Turner-Corey Seager mini-stack against Trevor Bauer is appealing.

Andrew Benintendi’s low price on FanDuel will boost ownership rates again Tuesday, but the matchup against rookie Ben Lively is one that the entire Boston lineup should be able to capitalize on. Lively is a finesse righty whose success in the minors hinged on sharp command, but he’s almost certainly going to struggle to miss bats at the big league level, and the Red Sox lineup will also get a crack at a bottom-10 bullpen (4.78 ERA) after Lively’s departure.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire. Derek VanRiper plays in daily fantasy contests using the following accounts: FanDuel: RotoWireDVR, DraftKings: BentleysChair, Yahoo: d.vanriper,.