There are only five night games on Thursday night on the diamond, so the pickings will be slim for the evening. Five games can create some interesting scenarios and it can be profitable to go contrarian in some instances. As mentioned on Thursday’s edition of The Bettor’s Box, it’s critically important to look at lineup construction this time of the year in order to maximize your DFS dollar.
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The salaries listed are from DraftKings:
Here are the top teams to stack for September 3:
Colorado – As mentioned above, pickings are pretty slim. Everybody will be stacking Colorado and probably San Francisco as well. Ryan Vogelsong has struggled in his career at Coors Field, which is hardly a surprise. It’s a 36.2-inning sample size, so don’t get too excited, but hitters own a .292/.362/.597 slash. The Rockies, for all of their road problems, are still one of the top offenses in the traditional slash categories against righties.
Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh probably won’t be a very popular stack given how Taylor Jungmann has pitched in his rookie year. Jungmann does show some regression with a 2.48 ERA, a 2,99 FIP, and a 3.83 xFIP. The xFIP is the number I’m looking at because a 3.8 percent HR/FB% is unsustainable for just about any pitcher. The strand rate is also a little bit high. Jungmann is predominantly a two-pitch pitcher with 85 percent of his usage coming from the FB and CU. Hitters will adjust to him and when they do, his numbers will take a step back.
San Diego – Mat Latos hasn’t been particularly good in his four starts with the Dodgers. This is more of a contrarian pick than anything else because the Padres are not a great offensive team and have some key players dealing with nagging injuries. But, Latos hasn’t pitched past the fifth in each of his last three outings and the Dodgers have some problems in middle relief. Latos isn’t an overpowering guy by any means, so the Padres should put balls in play and anything can happen at that point.
Here are the best value hitters for September 3:
Pedro Alvarez ($3,400) – If that HR/FB regression is coming for Taylor Jungmann, Pedro Alvarez seems like a good candidate. Alvarez has hit 10 home runs over the last six weeks and 22 overall. He’s really a home run or nothing guy, which certainly affects his value, but he homered at Miller Park on Tuesday and certainly has more upside in a good hitting environment than he would with this price at home.
Ben Paulsen ($3,500) – Paulsen has a .283/.331/.481 slash on the season and has swung the bat pretty well over his last 10 games. Coors Field is always a value boost, no matter the player, but Paulsen is consistently priced in this range because he’s not a big power or speed guy. But, with a matchup against Ryan Vogelsong, the time is right to take a stab on Paulsen. Paulsen has a .292/.348/.521 slash at home against right-handed pitching.
Jayson Werth ($3,600) – It was probably because the Nationals were facing a lefty, but Jayson Werth was batting leadoff on Wednesday night. They have right-hander Matt Wisler in this one, but after Bryce Harper left hurt for the Nationals in their last game, Werth should definitely be in a premier spot in the lineup for this one. He’s batting .293/.410/.612 over his last 10 as he tries to pick up some silver lining out of a lost season due to injuries.
Here are the best value starting pitchers for September 3:
Matt Wisler ($4,900) – Well, this is brutal. There’s not a ton of value out there in the market, as evidenced by Taylor Jungmann being a five-figure arm on Thursday. If Harper misses the game for the Nationals, their offense is likely to be stagnant. Ryan Zimmermann and Jayson Werth are slowly coming around, but there aren’t a whole lot of complementary pieces to Harper. I don’t remember the exact stats offhand, but the Nationals are horrible outside of Harper this season. That gives Matt Wisler a decent chance.
Edinson Volquez ($9,100) – The Royals defense continues to allow Edinson Volquez to be an above average starting pitcher. He doesn’t really provide the strikeouts you would like for DFS purposes, but he eats innings and he’s one of the biggest favorites on the board today. As long as he keeps a low ERA and the Royals keep taking hits away, he’ll have enough value to get by. This is a tough lineup, but it’s fair to wonder on a daily basis whether or not the Tigers will be engaged in the game.
Francisco Liriano ($11,300) – I guess you simply have to pay this price today. Liriano easily has the highest strikeout upside of all the pitchers on the list today. The Brewers are the worst offense in the National League in wOBA against lefties and only the Rockies have a lower wRC+. Liriano is a strikeout per inning guy with strong peripherals and a good ground ball split that won’t be affected by pitching at Miller Park. Sometimes you simply have to pay the price and this is one of those times.