We have a nice short slate on Thursday night with just 5 games. Both offense and pitching will be a heavily contested topic on this slate, so we will try to run down different options to try and take down a big GPP.
The top tier pitchers are Gerrit Cole, Trevor Bauer, Masahiro Tanaka, and Aaron Nola.
Let’s start with Nola. I’m really not interested unless the ownership is way down, which it seems to actually be really high here. Nola’s start to the season is concerning enough for me to stay away with 3 high end guys that I like better. I get betting on talent, but I think it is generally unnecessary here.
Gerrit Cole is facing off against Trevor Bauer in a matchup of two of the most improved pitchers in the league over the past 2 or 3 years. Cole is more expensive on DK and less than Bauer on FD, but both are the highest priced pitchers on the slate for good reason. I would expect Cole to be significantly higher owned than Bauer simply due to the matchups on the other team. With this being the case, I really like Bauer over Cole in this spot simply to be different. Both are talented enough to mow through lineups and I personally prefer Bauer as a pitcher when just comparing raw ability.
Masahiro Tanaka is facing an Angels team that generally refuses to strikeout, but I think that his lack of K’s for Tanaka can be neutralized because the park will limit these cheap home runs that Tanaka allows. I like Tanaka in tournaments a lot tonight.
Simply put, I think Cole and Nola show up around 50% and the other two end up under 10%. In tournaments, everyone should take the plunge into the worse matchups and play the ownership game.
The rest of the pitching slate is rather sketchy and I think there are a few ways to attack it. I do not have a ton of FanDuel interest on anyone below that top tier because most of the bottom lacks upside. Trevor Cahill and Caleb Smith are the two pitchers that would be in consideration on FD because they do have a big swing and miss game in them.
On two pitcher sites, I am still a fan of Marco Gonzales if he is reasonably priced. Gonzales is a former top prospect that has started to produce like a real keeper at the major league level. That being said, Gonzales lacks big strikeout upside. He does attempt to limit this by being really efficient, but just know you are banking on 8 scoreless 5K innings instead of 5 scoreless 8K innings like with others.
Rick Porcello is a fine play but he isn’t my style. I like pitchers that fill a need and I think this slate has too much upside to get Porcello in my lineup. His 6 inning, 2 earned game could be good enough to help you out, but I don’t think that’s how this slate goes.
My favorite pitcher down here is Caleb Smith based on the raw upside of his arm. The Phillies are a good offense, but Smith is a good pitcher and I am willing to roll the dice on his strikeout stuff on a small slate like this with limited options.
The Yankees have won 5 straight with at one point a combined 32.1 WAR on the IL. To put that into perspective, second most WAR on the IL in 10 years was Washington at 21.6. What this does provide is the Yankees being a little cheaper than they will be down the line. I hate that two of my favorite plays are first basemen, but this stack has upside vs. Cahill, who has a lot of bust potential along with his upside.
The Red Sox are the chalk against Jordan Zimmermann if you can afford them. I plan on spending a lot of pitching, so I am unaware of how many Sox I can get in the lineup, but I will be taking some shots here and there.
I do like stacking or taking a few pieces of Miami and Cleveland simply for leverage. Nola has really struggled most of the season and I think not stacking any team against a 50% pitcher that has 3 of 5 starts under 8 DK points is a mistake. This also would provide you savings to use two expensive pitchers.