Week 4 Primer
I've belabored the point before, but one of the underrated parts of fantasy baseball is deciding who to cut, especially in leagues where there is no DL, just reserve slots. The injury luck rarely evens out over one league, certainly not over the course of a month or two. Take my NFBC Main Event team (please...) - I've already lost two catchers (Yan Gomes, John Jaso) and Ben Zobrist, plus both Jesse Hahn and Brandon McCarthy are question marks for the upcoming week. Meanwhile, Aramis Ramirez is sitting out at least one game a week (though the way he's playing, that could be construed as a blessing). Don't feel sorry for me - it's not as if I've just lost my ace for the season on a fluke Achilles' injury. But all of a sudden, I have basically two reserve spots to play with in terms of streaming starting pitchers, which is a pretty big impediment for my squad that's light on premium starting pitching. Do I take the zero at one of the catcher spots instead of having two catchers on my bench? Or should I cut Jaso, who doesn't have a timetable for his return yet, and let someone else get the windfall later? Otherwise, I have to cut one of the starting pitchers that I like to mix-and-match.
Monday Day Games
There are no day games, but there are two early-start games. Both Toronto at Boston and KC at Cleveland begin at 6:10 PM ET. That may limit your DFS pool, and freeze your weekly roster spots an hour early.
Atlanta (7H), Chicago White Sox (7A), Cincinnati (3H, 4A), Detroit (7A), Houston (3A, 4H), Kansas City (3A, 4H), Minnesota (7H), New York Mets (3A, 4H), Philadelphia (7A), Seattle (7A), St. Louis (7H), Toronto (7A) and Washington (7A).
The Rockies are on the road for the full week, with three games in Arizona and three in San Diego. Sunday's rainout means that Tyler Matzek gets two road starts, though the Petco start might not be as attractive as previous seasons, given all the right-handed acquisitions by the Padres.
Though the Phillies went 3-3 this past week, they scored only 17 runs in six games, and just 1 or 2 runs in four of those games. So they remain an active stream target, especially as they hit the road, where they're 1-6 so far. They play four games in St. Louis, and three more in Miami. The starters they face include:
Cardinals: John Lackey, Michael Wacha, Carlos Martinez, undecided (but probably Tyler Lyons, filling in for the injured Adam Wainwright)
Marlins: Tom Koehler, Dan Haren, Jarred Cosart
Did Alex Guerrero Homer Today?
Meanwhile, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reports that Guerrero will start to get some time in left field, too - presumably when the Dodgers face a left-hander, though the domino effect of Yasiel Puig going on the DL is that one more potential spot will open here-and-there.
Keeping it simple this week - wOBA is a favorite stat for the top DFS players, both from an individual and a team point-of-view. Here are the top and bottom five teams in wOBA heading into Sunday, courtesy of Fangraphs:
1. Dodgers .365
2. Royals .353
3. Orioles .346
4. Tigers .338
5. Rockies .336
26. Angels .281
27. Pirates .278
28. Twins .267
29. Brewers .262
30. Phillies .262
The teams (in the admittedly ludicrously small sample) that surprise me are the Royals (who we addressed some last week), Angels and Pirates, especially the Angels. Sometimes these teams won't conform to type - the Phillies scored seven runs on Monday, the Brewers scored six against Lance Lynn today without Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez - but this could give you a few ideas on where to stream pitchers or look for two-step starters.
Cheap Two-Step of the Week
Again, for actual free agent and pitcher advice, you should check out our excellent AL FAAB, NL FAAB and Pitcher Value Meter columns. Last week I suggested Hector Santiago (11.1 IP, 7 H, 3 R (2 ER), 9 BB, 13 K, 1 W) and to a lesser extent Kyle Lobstein (13 IP, 9 H, 4 ER, 6 BB, 7 K, 1 W). So it was a mixed bag in the two starts, but the cost was right.
Jarred Cosart's last start against the Mets didn't go so well (5 ER over 5.1 innings), but that was in New York where I think that the Mets bats will be more potent this year. Cosart gets two home bids this week, against Dillon Gee in the first game, with the Mets arriving late after playing the Sunday night game, then against the Phillies and Sean O'Sullivan. I mentioned Matzek above - the results so far have been good, even if the road matchups don't jump off the page as enticing.
Thank and Dismiss
Kyle Lobstein gave us two decent starts, albeit with few strikeouts. Now he faces the Royals on the road this week, followed by the White Sox on the road next week. The latter doesn't really scare me, but I also don't think there's too much upside, even with Justin Verlander looking as if he's going to be awhile before he returns.
Mistake of the Week
I thought that there was a chance that Ben Zobrist might just miss one game this week, so I left him in and didn't start Adeiny Hechavarria for the first four days of the week. I only missed out on a 4-for-4 game and another game with a stolen base, in exchange for a string of zeroes, in the NFBC Main Event.
Next Week's Mistake of the Week Right Now?
Taijuan Walker struck out eight batters in his last start against the Astros, and has two road starts this week, one of them against the same Astros. He also walked four batters and hit another in his last start. His velocity, which was down early, is back up now. Would you use him in a 15-team mixed league?
Stay tuned for FAAB results late-night tonight on the blog page.