-- In an effort to serve daily fantasy players and season-long fantasy players who use daily lineup settings, we present daily notes each day of the season. It's a daily version of our Fantasy Forecaster in which we project the best pitcher game scores, as well as the best team hitting matchups based upon a number of factors.
Jake Arrieta doesn't draw the highest projected game score of the day. In fact, his 61 rating is actually the lowest of the four hurlers who crack the elite tier. Nonetheless, the Chicago Cubs right-hander is the most reliable cash option of the day if you're willing to pay the premium. Although his 24 percent whiff rate is down from what he's produced the previous two seasons (27 percent), he's inducing 58 percent grounders and is allowing just 22.5 percent hard contact, the sixth-best mark in baseball. Arrieta has also allowed one or zero runs in five of his seven starts this season. The Pittsburgh Pirates are tough customers, as they make a good amount of contact and handle right-handed pitching well (.339 wOBA). Still, Arrieta is as safe as they come and has a great chance at a win against Jeff Locke.
The top projected game score of the day belongs to Jose Fernandez. While he won't have home-field advantage, he's facing a Washington Nationals team that's well below average against righty pitching (83 wRC+) and strikes out 21 percent of the time. Of course, there's also the fact that Fernandez's 12.8 K/9 is more than a strikeout per inning better than any starting pitcher in baseball this year. The walk rate is high (4.4 BB/9), but it's less of an issue when he's missing this many bats. I still prefer Arrieta in cash, but Fernandez gets the nod in tournaments.
Based on matchups, Corey Kluber and Aaron Nola are in the best spots. Kluber has been inconsistent this season, but the peripherals are still very strong, and on Saturday he's set up very nicely against a Minnesota Twins team that's scored the fewest runs in the American League while striking out at a 23 percent clip. Nola, meanwhile, gets a home matchup against the Cincinnati Reds, who struggle against righty pitching (77 wRC+) and whiff 23 percent of the time. In addition to going seven innings in five of his seven starts this season, the 22-year-old is missing plenty of bats (9.6 K/9), limiting walks (1.6 BB/9) and inducing a good number of grounders (54 percent). The Reds should give him little trouble, making him a nice cash-game pivot if you don't want to pay top dollar.
Carlos Martinez draws a road start against the Los Angeles Dodgers, a matchup that isn't nearly as intimidating as you might think. Against righty pitching this season, the Dodgers have produced a .297 wOBA, an 83 wRC+ and a 22 percent strikeout rate. That sets things up very nicely for Martinez. The right-hander's upside has diminished somewhat, as his strikeout rate is down (7.1 K/9) and his 2.61 ERA has benefited from a .212 BABIP. Still, he looks to be an under-owned option on Saturday given the number of quality hurlers available.
Jose Quintana is never the most expensive DFS option, but he's generally one of the most reliable. He's surrendered just two runs in his past four starts combined, and he's yet to allow more than two earned runs in a start all season. The New York Yankees aren't a high-strikeout team, which limits Quintana's upside a bit. However, this is a team that has had trouble generating offense, ranking bottom-five in runs scored and last in the AL in hard-hit percentage (26 percent). Quintana should continue delivering quality results in this one.
The Los Angeles Angels may have Mike Trout, but even the best player in the American League hasn't been able to help this offense. The Angels currently rank last in the AL in homers, second-to-last in runs scored and last in wOBA versus right-handed pitching (.284). Sure, they don't strike out much, but that's partly because they're making so much weak contact (21.3 percent, worst in the AL). Ultimately, that's just a long way of saying that Hisashi Iwakuma, who gets the Angels at home on Saturday, finds himself in a great spot.
With a home start against the Oakland Athletics, Matt Moore makes for an intriguing SP2 option. He's missing enough bats (9.4 K/9) to give him ample upside, and he's facing an A's team that can't hit left-handed pitching (.278 wOBA) and doesn't draw walks, either (3.3 percent). Moore should offer plenty of bang for the buck.
A free agent in nearly 40 percent of leagues, Tanner Roark isn't as widely available as the names I'll mention below, but he's certainly the most interesting of the bunch. Roark has allowed zero earned runs in four of his seven starts this season, and part of his success can be attributed to the fact that he's allowing so little hard contact -- his 19.5 hard-hit percentage is the second-best mark in baseball. He's also doing a fine job missing bats (8.3 K/9) and getting grounders (52 percent). The Miami Marlins aren't an ideal opponent, as they hit righties well (.330 wOBA) and don't strike out much (18 percent), but Roark remains one of the day's better streaming options.
After starting the season strong, Kendall Graveman has been hammered for 16 runs, including seven homers, over his past three outings. However, other than the homer problem, the skills have been solid, and he has a prime matchup against a Rays team that strikes out 26 percent of the time (the worst rate in Major League Baseball) and struggles against righty pitching (.295 wOBA). Graveman is a free agent in 97 percent of ESPN leagues.
Dillon Gee is set to make his first start of the season on Saturday, and lucky for him it's coming against the Atlanta Braves, who are in contention for the worst offense in baseball. While they don't strike out as much as the San Diego Padres, they have far less power, as the Braves had 19 fewer homers than any other team entering Tuesday's action. Don't expect Gee to go deep in this one, but he should post solid totals.
Surprise, surprise! We're recommending the starting pitcher facing the Padres. Wily Peralta, available in 99 percent of ESPN leagues, hasn't had much value this season. However, he's still generating grounders (52 percent) and a .391 BABIP has contributed to his bloated ratios. He's still not safe, but Peralta is basically in a perfect spot, toeing the rubber against a Padres team that whiffs 26 percent of the time against righties with a .278 wOBA.
If you're streaming starters, also consider John Lamb, who takes on the Philadelphia Phillies on the road. Lamb has only 12 big league starts under his belt, but he's shown an ability to miss bats, which will come in handy against the Phillies, who strike out at a 24 percent clip against southpaws. They also happen to be the second-least effective team versus left-handed pitching, sporting a .267 wOBA and 59 wRC+ against them. Lamb is available in 97 percent of ESPN leagues.
Mike Folynewicz is coming off a strong start against the Arizona Diamondbacks (seven innings of two-run ball with eight Ks), but the fact remains that left-handed batters have given him fits in his brief big league career, evidenced by the .420 wOBA he's allowed. The Kansas City Royals lineup is well-stocked with lefty bats, making this a nice stacking opportunity.
Of course, the Coors Field bats are also in play. Eddie Butler has put up some nice numbers so far in limited action, but this will be his first Coors start of the year. In 43 career innings at Coors, he's the owner of a 6.65 ERA. Considering he also owns a career .451 wOBA versus left-handed hitters, Curtis Granderson, Michael Conforto, Lucas Duda and switch-hitter Neil Walker all look like prime plays on Saturday.
Although he's coming off his best start, Patrick Corbin just hasn't had it for most of this season. Right-handed batters have put up a .364 wOBA against him, and his 40 percent hard-hit average is the second-worst mark in the majors. Playing in Chase Field, which helps right-handed power, Buster Posey and Hunter Pence figure to make their way into plenty of lineups.
We highlighted Wily Peralta in the streaming section given his matchup against the Padres, but you can't ignore that he historically does a poor job getting left-handed hitters out. You certainly won't want to build your DFS lineups around these guys, but lefty bats like Jon Jay and Brett Wallace could make for decent punt plays in the hitter-friendly Miller Park.
Most likely to go yard: Lucas Duda
Maybe it's cheap to go with a Coors bat here, but I don't care. Eighty-four percent of Duda's career homers have come against righties, and he's a career .375/.487/.500 hitter at Coors. He'll take Eddie Butler deep on Saturday.
Most likely to swipe a bag: Dexter Fowler
There are two perfect 10 steal ratings on Saturday, and they're both in the same game -- Pirates vs. Cubs -- so there will likely be plenty of thieving going on. There are many options to choose from, but I'll go with Fowler as the most likely to swipe one.