Onward and upward to Week 17 of the Fantasy Baseball season! There are ten teams off on Monday, which means there are just 10 games to pick from, but there are still some mouth-watering matchups to pick from. Below are some GTS hand-selected, center-cut lineup pieces for you from Monday’s slate (including the “early” 6:40 PM EST game).
Matchups to Target
He’s baaaack! Alvarez came off the IL and promptly began hitting again. He’s played 4 games since coming back and has had at least one hit in each of them, going 6-for-15 (.400) with a double, a HR, 1 RBI, and 4 runs scored. Alvarez is gifted the chance of going up against the once-vaunted Noah “Thor” Syndergaard on Monday. Thor isn’t the pitcher he used to be, he’d tell you that himself. Syndergaard brings his bloated 7.16 ERA and 1.45 WHIP into Monday’s contest, but part of the reason Yordan is on this list is because of what left-handed hitters (LHH) do to Syndergaard: .302/.574/.914 (righties do pretty good too, FYI). Also, Houston has the third-highest implied team total on the board today at 5.2 runs.
I know I don’t need to tell you that Acuna is usable, so why is he here? Well, Atlanta has the second-highest implied team total today at 6.1 runs. The game itself also has the second-highest total on the board at over/under 10 runs. Griffin Canning is going for the Halos today and he’s actually been pretty good his last two turns, but those were against the toothless Tigers and the Judge-less Yankees. Canning is one of those pitchers with “reverse-splits”, meaning right-handed hitters (RHH) have more success against him than LHH (.275/.506/.836 vs .209/.351/.629). This spot could have been for RHH Austin Riley or Marcell Ozuna, both of whom have been hot, but Acuna has been hotter the last 7 days, going 7-for-17 (.412) with a HR, 3 RBI, 6 R, 5 BB:3 K, and 5 stolen bases. There’s great hitting conditions in Atlanta today too, this feels like an opposite-field HR kind of day for Acuna.
Diaz is having a great year so we’ve seen him here before. He’s here today, not only for what he’s done this season and specifically in July, but because of the success he’s had against opposing pitcher Domingo German. Diaz is batting .315 on the season and .313 in July (21-for-67). In 23 plate appearances against German, he’s 7-for-20, including 3 doubles, a HR, 3 BB, and just 3 strikeouts. German pitched a perfect game on June 28th, a historic feat no doubt, but outside of that he’s been a kind of… what’s the word I’m looking for… meh. Per Wikipedia, meh is defined as “meaning something is mediocre or unremarkable.” In 4 July starts he’s given up 21 hits and 14 ER in 22.1 IP. German gave up 5 HR in those 4 games, with his 32 K being the lone bright spot (10.1 K per 9 on the season).
Machado gets the double-bonus today: 1) hitting in Colorado 2) against a left-handed pitcher (and a bad one at that, so maybe that’s a triple-bonus). The game with the highest over/under is this one, San Diego @ Colorado, with a total of 11.5 runs. The Padres have the highest implied team total on the slate as well at 7 runs. Hitting conditions as usual in Coors appear to be great (note that there is rain in the forecast so, while humidity is beneficial for hitting, make sure it doesn’t get postponed!). And Machado loves to hit LHP: .337/.547/.953 versus .232/.440/.725 to RHP. Machado has a little 6-game hit streak going and for July he’s slashing .308/.692/1.094. He’s got 20 HR on the season, 11 of which came in July.
I made the case above for RHH against Canning, but Harris is a LHH. He’s here because he continues to be underpriced due to his early season struggles, but players like Trent Grisham, Adam Duvall, Joc Pederson, and Sal Frelick are similarly priced yet don’t provide the kind of potential Harris does. He has the longest current hit streak in the MLB right now at 12 games, during which time he’s gone 15-for-40 (.375) and is hitting in the daunting Braves lineup. He can steal you a base too with 13 swiped on the season.
The same price as Harris but the reason he’s a value is the same. Perhaps he doesn’t provide the HR power stroke as some other options, but in July alone he’s got 8 doubles, 1 triple, and 3 HR, hitting .330 (34-for-103). He had more walks than strikeouts in July (9:7) and he’s got Jose Ramirez and Josh Naylor hitting behind him.
Morel, McMahon, Albies, McLain, Altuve, Merrifield, Hoerner… all these names and more are more expensive second-basemen on FanDuel, but over the last 5 games Lowe is 9-for-19 (.473) with 3 HR, 7 RBI, 5 runs scored, and even a stolen base.
DFS Stacks to Consider
Braves vs Griffin Canning
We already talked about Acuna and Harris, but of all the Braves hitters it is Orlando Arcia that has the highest batting average over the last 7 days (min. 10 at-bats). The right-handed hitting Arcia is 8-for-17 (.471) in his last 5 games and would be a cheap option that’ll allow you to spend elsewhere. If it’s pop you’re looking for there’s plenty of it: Marcell Ozuna, Matt Olson, and Austin Riley are all 7-for-19 (.368) over their last 5 games, with Ozuna hitting 4 HR, Olson hitting 3 HR, and Riley hitting 2 HR.
Astros vs Noah Syndergaard
You’ll use Alvarez of course, but also the left-handed hitting Kyle Tucker who leads the team in batting average (.299) and RBI (70). He’s batting .352 in July and had a three-homer game as recently as 10 days ago. One or more of Jose Altuve, Chas McCormick, or Alex Bregman would round out this stack. All are hitting .318 or better over the last 5 games, each with at least 1 HR and multiple extra-base hits. McCormick is your value play here and is batting .351 for the month of July, third-best behind Alvarez and Tucker.
Padres vs Austin Gomber
This was much more appealing before Ha-Seong Kim got injured Sunday night. It sounds like he’s not likely to play Monday, which is too bad because he was on fire and hitting atop the lineup. Anyway, Machado can be paired with Fernando Tatis Jr.who is mashing LHP also, .307.591/.981 (.265/.463/.776 vs RHP). Sanchez (or Campusano) are cheaper options at catcher and both hit LHP well. Otherwise you can use Xander Bogaerts who is 3-for-6 lifetime off of Gomber with a double, a HR, and ZERO strikeouts.
DFS Value Pitchers
For me, my preference is to use a lower-priced pitcher because even the most expensive ones can get blown up any given night (looking at you Bailey Ober vs the Royals on Saturday: 4 IP, 11 H, 6 ER). I’m looking for pitchers that have high K rates that have a chance to win and can at least give you 5 IP. If they do give up some runs, hopefully the K will be enough to offset. Here are two I’d use:
Edward Cabrera ($8400 on FanDuel)
The Marlins are a good team and while Cabrera’s numbers don’t look great on paper (4.74 ERA, 1.42 WHIP), he does have a 12.2 K/9 rate and he’s going against a Philly squad that strikes out fourth-most in the entire MLB (9.23/game) and the MOST over the last 3 games (13.0/game).
Nick Pivetta ($8000 on FanDuel)
The Red Sox have been rolling having just swept the Braves and, like Cabrera, Pivetta has a high strikeout rate at 11.1 K/9. He faces off with the Seattle lineup which has the second-highest strikeouts per game on the season (9.90/game) and fourth-most over the last 3 games (11.3/game).
San Diego -1.5 : I think the Padres bats will get the job done, but the Rockies are going to miss their biggest power bat (CJ Cron) and their hottest hitter (Randall Grichuk). It doesn’t taste good when I say it, but Seth Lugo *yuck* has been better than you (or at least me) would have expected.
SD @ COL Under : that’s a pretty big number and I know it’s Colorado, but I don’t know that Colorado has enough fire power left to help push this run total up past it.